colic

colic

[kol-ik]
colic, intense pain caused by spasmodic contractions of one of the hollow organs, e.g., the stomach, intestine, gall bladder, ureter, or oviduct. The cause of colic is irritation and/or obstruction, and the irritant and/or obstruction may be a stone (as in the gall bladder or ureter), an irritant food or gas (in the stomach and intestines), appendicitis, or implantation of an embryo in an oviduct. Intestinal colic in infancy is sometimes attributed to gas formed by excessive swallowing of air or inadequate digestion of milk. Treatment of colic is relative to the cause.

Any sudden, violent pain, especially that produced by contraction of the muscular walls of a hollow organ whose opening is partly or completely blocked. In infants, intestinal colic is characterized by drawing up of the legs, restlessness, and constant crying. Colic may accompany enteritis (intestinal inflammation) or an intestinal tumour, as well as certain forms of influenza. Colic caused by spastic bowel contractions is common in lead poisoning. Treatment, aimed at symptom relief, often includes use of a muscle relaxant.

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"Cholic" redirects here. For cholic acid, see Cholic acid.

Colic is a form of pain in the abdomen which starts and stops abruptly.

Types

Types include:

  • Baby colic, a condition, usually in infants, characterized by incessant crying
  • Renal colic, a pain in the flank, characteristic of kidney stones
  • Biliary colic, blockage by a gallstone of the common bile duct or the duct leading into it from the gallbladder
  • Horse colic, a potentially fatal condition experienced by horses, caused by intestinal displacement or blockage
  • Devon colic, an affliction caused by lead poisoning
  • Painter's colic or lead poisoning

References

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