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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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on colic, visit Britannica.com.