Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Colic, or intestinal pain, is a symptom which may arise from the most trivial or the most grave and serious causes. The frequent occurrence of griping pains in the abdomen, causes colic to be looked upon by the public as quite a simple disorder eminently suited for domestic practice, and yet there is perhaps no symptom which the physician is inclined to treat with greater respect. Spasm of the muscular coat of the intestines may be set up by so prosaic a cause as the taking of some article of food which disagrees, as the phrase is, with the patient; or it may form a striking feature in that most alarming of conditions which is known to medical men as intestinal obstruction. In the former case a purge soon removes the source of trouble, in the latter this form of treatment is more fraught with danger to the patient than any plan of action which could be devised. In dealing with colic, therefore, it is most necessary to study carefully the whole of the phenomena present in each individual case, and not to imagine that any particular plan of treatment will comprehend all the multifarious forms of disease which are associated with abdominal pain. The pain of colic is often referred to the navel, or it may shift about from one part of the abdomen to another; it is usually not aggravated by pressure. Pain originating in parts within the abdomen other than the intestines may closely simulate true intestinal colic. Thus the site of trouble may be the stomach, or the pain may be clue to gall-stone, renal calculus, vertebral disease, uterine disorders, aneurism, or peritonitis. In the common and familiar colic, consecutive to the swallowing of something which disagrees, diarrhoea (q.v.) is usually present. Colic is often associated, too, with constipation (independent of any actual obstruction), particularly in women of middle age. Again in lead poisoning, whether in painters, or arising from drinking water which contains lead as an impurity, colic is a prominent symptom. Again, colic may be nervous in origin, a low state of health manifesting itself in some persons as colic, just as it does in others as neuralgia or megrim. In intestinal obstruction there are usually present, in addition to pnin, constipation and vomiting. It sometimes falls to the lot of the physician to discover, on examination of the abdomen in "colic," such conditions as typhlitis (q.v.) or strangulated hernia.