Q: My husband and I just barely survived a bout of colic with our 4-month-old son. My other two kids never had it. What happened this time?
SALLY J., Twinsburg, Ohio
A: Colic (inconsolable crying for at least three hours a day, three days a week) affects about 20 percent of babies between 3 weeks and 3 months of age. What causes it has always been a mystery. .
But researchers may have discovered a way to prevent colic or soothe its symptoms. Although the data arent conclusive, it appears that an imbalance in an infants gut bacteria (the biome) could be at the heart of the matter. Having the right amount of good and bad bacteria in the gut is essential for everyones health. Newborns pick up bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. They need exposure to the mothers microorganisms in order to develop a healthy immune system and good digestion. But certain things, like chronic maternal stress, a C-section, mom taking antibiotics while pregnant or an infant getting them shortly after birth, may interfere with the balance of those diverse bacteria.
A recent study found that giving infants a 90-day dose of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri helps prevent colic, constipation and regurgitation.
Our advice: If youre stressed or take antibiotics while pregnant, also take a probiotic. And if your child develops colic, talk to your pediatrician about determining a safe source and dose of probiotics for your infant.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.