As I sit hear feeling as if a stake has been driven through my temple, I am particularly attuned to news of a new study linking migraines and colic.
It seems women who suffer migraines are more than two and half times likely to have a baby with colic, or frequent, prolonged crying. Comparing 154 mother-and-child pairs, researchers found that 29 percent of children of mothers with a history of migraines developed colic compared to 11 percent of the other children.
Amy Gelfand, a child neurologist with the Headache Center at the University of California San Francisco and one of the study’s authors, said the findings might suggest that colic is a sign that the child is predisposed to migraines.
It’s an interesting twist in the quest to figure out the cause of colic. A baby is usually considered colicky if he cries continuously more than three hours a day, more than three days a week for more than three weeks. The condition is often blamed on gastrointestinal problems and sometimes on bottle-feeding, though there’s been no definitive links to either.
At this point, the migraine study raises more questions than answers. It’s unclear how strongly a father’s migraines correlate to a child’s. Researches turned up a connection, but said that was not as strong as the mother-child link. It’s unclear if migraine medication is involved. It’s unclear if these babies will develop migraines.
What is clear: Colic and migraines are a terrible combination. A baby’s incessant crying is hard on the baby and hard on the parent. Add frequent, debilitating headaches and the noise can become torturous.
Gelfand and her colleagues will present the paper this spring at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. They also plan to follow-up with long-term research on the colicky babies to see what conditions might develop.
If the link is established, it may lead to new advice on how to soothe a colicky baby. We might begin to treat them as if they had a migraine and reduce stimulation and light.
Did you have a colicky baby? Did you have headaches at the same time? How did you cope?