Crying

Crying is a topic covered in the Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics.

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Basics

Description

  • Crying is usually a normal physiologic response to stress, discomfort, unfulfilled needs such as hunger, pain, over- or understimulation, or temperature change.
  • Crying is felt to be potentially pathologic if it is interpreted by caregivers as differing in quality and duration without apparent explanation and/or persists without consolability beyond a reasonable time (generally 1–2 hours).

Epidemiology

  • Excessive crying in the first months of life, per parental reports, occurs in about 1 in 5 infants.

Etiology

  • The most likely cause of inconsolable crying in the first few months of life is infantile colic.
    • However, colic is a diagnosis of exclusion.
    • Practitioners must be familiar with the clinical pattern of infantile colic so that deviations are readily recognized.
  • Organic problems are identified in 5% or less of afebrile excessively crying infants.

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