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Alagille Syndrome


Description:
Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the liver, heart, kidney, and other systems of the body. Problems associated with the disorder generally become evident in infancy or early childhood. The disorder is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, and the estimated prevalence of Alagille syndrome is 1 in every 100,000 live births.It is named after Daniel Alagille.

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A person with Alagille syndrome has fewer than the normal number of small bile ducts inside the liver. The liver is the organ in the abdomen—the area between the chest and hips—that makes blood proteins and bile, stores energy and nutrients, fights infection, and removes harmful chemicals from the blood.

Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from the liver cells to the gallbladder for storage and to the small intestine for use in digestion. Bile is fluid made by the liver that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In people with Alagille syndrome, the decreased number of bile ducts causes bile to build up in the liver, a condition also called cholestasis, leading to liver damage and liver disease.

The digestive system:
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—also called the digestive tract—and the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The hollow organs that make up the GI tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the colon and rectum—and anus. Food enters the mouth and passes to the anus through the hollow organs of the digestive system. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of the digestive system. The digestive system helps the body digest food.
Symptoms:
The symptoms of Alagille syndrome and their severity vary, even among people in the same family sharing the same gene mutation.

Liver:  In some people, problems in the liver may be the first signs and symptoms of the disorder. These symptoms can occur in children and adults and in infants as early as the first 3 months of life.
Jaundice. Jaundice—when the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow—is a result of the liver not removing bilirubin from the blood. Bilirubin is a reddish-yellow substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. Bilirubin is absorbed by the liver, processed, and released into bile. Blockage of the bile ducts forces bilirubin and other elements of bile to build up in the blood.
Jaundice may be difficult for parents and even health care providers to detect. Many healthy newborns have mild jaundice during the first 1 to 2 weeks of life due to an immature liver. This normal type of jaundice disappears by the second or third week of life, whereas the jaundice of Alagille syndrome deepens. Newborns with jaundice after 2 weeks of life should be seen by a health care provider to check for a possible liver problem.
Dark urine and gray or white stools. High levels of bilirubin in the blood that pass into the urine can make the urine darker, while stool lightens from a lack of bilirubin reaching the intestines. Gray or white bowel movements after 2 weeks of age are very reliable signs of a liver problem.
Pruritus. The buildup of bilirubin in the blood may cause itching, also called pruritus. Pruritus usually starts after 3 months of age and can be severe.
Xanthomas. Xanthomas are fatty deposits that appear as yellow bumps on the skin. They are caused by abnormally high cholesterol levels in the blood, common in people with liver disease. Xanthomas may appear anywhere on the body. However, xanthomas are usually found on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks.
Other Symptoms of Alagille Syndrome are:
Certain signs of Alagille syndrome are unique to the disorder, including those that affect the vertebrae and facial features.

Face.  Many children with Alagille syndrome have deep-set eyes, a straight nose, a small and pointed chin, large ears, and a prominent, wide forehead. These features are not usually recognized until after infancy. By adulthood, the chin is more prominent.

Eyes. Posterior embryotoxon is a condition in which an opaque ring is present in the cornea, the transparent covering of the eyeball. The abnormality is common in people with Alagille syndrome, though it usually does not affect vision.

Skeleton. The most common skeletal defect in a person with Alagille syndrome is when the shape of the vertebrae—bones of the spine—gives the appearance of flying butterflies. This defect, known as “butterfly” vertebrae, rarely causes medical problems or requires treatment.

Heart and blood vessels. People with Alagille syndrome may have the following signs and symptoms having to do with the heart and blood vessels:

heart murmur—an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. A heart murmur is the most common sign of Alagille syndrome other than the general symptoms of liver disease.1 Most people with Alagille syndrome have a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs.1 This narrowing causes a murmur that can be heard with a stethoscope. Heart murmurs usually do not cause problems.

heart walls and valve problems. A small number of people with Alagille syndrome have serious problems with the walls or valves of the heart. These conditions may need treatment with medications or corrective surgery.

blood vessel problems. People with Alagille syndrome may have abnormalities of the blood vessels in the head and neck. This serious complication can lead to internal bleeding or stroke. Alagille syndrome can also cause narrowing or bulging of other blood vessels in the body.
Kidney disease. A wide range of kidney diseases can occur in Alagille syndrome. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist, that filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood. Some people have small kidneys or have cysts—fluid-filled sacs—in the kidneys. Kidney function can also decrease.
Causes:
Alagille syndrome is caused by a gene mutation, or defect. Genes provide instructions for making proteins in the body. A gene mutation is a permanent change in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the material inside cells that carries genetic information and passes genes from parent to child. Approximately 30 to 50 percent of people with Alagille syndrome have an inherited gene mutation, meaning it has been passed on by a parent. In the remaining cases, the gene mutation develops spontaneously.1 In spontaneous cases, neither parent carries a copy of the mutated gene.

Most cases of Alagille syndrome are caused by a mutation in the JAGGED1 (JAG1) gene. In less than 1 percent of cases, a mutation in the NOTCH2 gene is the cause.2

1Spinner NB, Leonard LD, Krantz ID. Alagille syndrome. GeneReviews website. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1273/External NIH Link. Updated February 28, 2013. Accessed July 16, 2014.

2Kamath BM, Bauer RC, Loomes KM, et al. NOTCH2 mutations in Alagille syndrome. Journal of Medical Genetics. 2012;49(2):138–144.
Genetic Disorders: 
Each cell contains thousands of genes that provide the instructions for making proteins for growth and repair of the body. If a gene has a mutation, the protein made by that gene may not function properly, which sometimes creates a genetic disorder. Not all gene mutations cause a disorder.

People have two copies of most genes; one copy is inherited from each parent. A genetic disorder occurs when one or both parents pass a mutated gene to a child at conception. A genetic disorder can also occur through a spontaneous gene mutation, meaning neither parent carries a copy of the mutated gene. Once a spontaneous gene mutation has occurred in a person, it can be passed to the person’s children.
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Complications:
The complications of Alagille syndrome include liver failure, portal hypertension, and growth problems. People with Alagille syndrome usually have a combination of complications, and may not have every complication listed below.:-

Liver failure. Over time, the decreased number of bile ducts may lead to chronic liver failure, also called end-stage liver disease. This condition progresses over months, years, or even decades. The liver can no longer perform important functions or effectively replace damaged cells. A person may need a liver transplant. A liver transplant is surgery to remove a diseased or an injured liver and replace it with a healthy whole liver or a segment of a liver from another person, called a donor.

Portal hypertension. The spleen is the organ that cleans blood and makes white blood cells. White blood cells attack bacteria and other foreign cells. Blood flow from the spleen drains directly into the liver. When a person with Alagille syndrome has advanced liver disease, the blood flow backs up into the spleen and other blood vessels. This condition is called portal hypertension. The spleen may become larger in the later stages of liver disease. A person with an enlarged spleen should avoid contact sports to protect the organ from injury. Advanced portal hypertension can lead to serious bleeding problems.

Growth problems. Alagille syndrome can lead to poor growth in infants and children, as well as delayed puberty in older children. Liver disease can cause malabsorption, which can result in growth problems. Malabsorption is the inability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients from foods, which results in protein, calorie, and vitamin deficiencies. Serious heart problems, if present in Alagille syndrome, can also affect growth.

Malabsorption. People with Alagille syndrome may have diarrhea—loose, watery stools—due to malabsorption. The condition occurs because bile is necessary for the digestion of food. Malabsorption can lead to bone fractures, eye problems, blood-clotting problems, and learning delays.

Long-term Outlook:
The long-term outlook for people with Alagille syndrome depends on several factors, including the severity of liver damage and heart problems. Predicting who will experience improved bile flow and who will progress to chronic liver failure is difficult. Ten to 30 percent of people with Alagille syndrome will eventually need a liver transplant.

Many adults with Alagille syndrome whose symptoms improve with treatment lead normal, productive lives. Deaths in people with Alagille syndrome are most often caused by chronic liver failure, heart problems, and blood vessel problems.

Diagnosis:
The Doctor diagnoses Alagille syndrome by performing a thorough physical examination of the patient and ordering one or more of the following tests and exams:

Blood test. A blood test involves drawing blood at a health care provider’s office or a commercial facility and sending the sample to a lab for analysis. The blood test can show nutritional status and the presence of liver disease and kidney function.

Urinalysis. Urinalysis is the testing of a urine sample. The urine sample is collected in a special container in a health care provider’s office or a commercial facility and can be tested in the same location or sent to a lab for analysis. Urinalysis can show many problems of the urinary tract and other body systems. The sample may be observed for color, cloudiness, or concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including glucose; the presence of protein, blood cells, or bacteria; or other signs of disease.

X ray. An x ray is a picture created by using radiation and recorded on film or on a computer. The amount of radiation used is small. An x-ray technician performs the x ray at a hospital or an outpatient center, and a radiologist—a doctor who specializes in medical imaging—interprets the images. Anesthesia is not needed. The patient will lie on a table or stand during the x ray. The technician positions the x-ray machine over the spine area to look for “butterfly” vertebrae. The patient will hold his or her breath as the picture is taken so that the picture will not be blurry. The patient may be asked to change position for additional pictures.

Abdominal ultrasound. Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure. The transducer can be moved to different angles to make it possible to examine different organs. In abdominal ultrasound, the health care provider applies a gel to the patient’s abdomen and moves a handheld transducer over the skin. The gel allows the transducer to glide easily, and it improves the transmission of the signals. A specially trained technician performs the procedure in a health care provider’s office, an outpatient center, or a hospital, and a radiologist interprets the images; anesthesia is not needed. The images can show an enlarged liver or rule out other conditions.

Cardiology exam. A cardiologist—a doctor who treats people who have heart problems—performs a cardiology exam in a health care provider’s office, an outpatient center, or a hospital. During a full exam, a cardiologist may inspect the patient’s physical appearance, measure pulse rate and blood pressure, observe the jugular vein, check for rapid or skipped heartbeats, listen for variations in heart sounds, and listen to the lungs.

Slit-lamp exam. An ophthalmologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders—performs a slit-lamp exam to diagnose posterior embryotoxon. The ophthalmologist examines the eye with a slit lamp, a microscope combined with a high-intensity light that shines a thin beam on the eye. While sitting in a chair, the patient will rest his or her head on the slit lamp. A yellow dye may be used to examine the cornea and tear layer. The dye is applied as a drop, or the specialist may touch a strip of paper stained with the dye to the white of the patient’s eye. The specialist will also use drops in the patient’s eye to dilate the pupil.

Liver biopsy. A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a piece of liver tissue for examination with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. The health care provider may ask the patient to stop taking certain medications temporarily before the liver biopsy. The patient may be asked to fast for 8 hours before the procedure.

During the procedure, the patient lies on a table, right hand resting above the head. A local anesthetic is applied to the area where the biopsy needle will be inserted. If needed, sedatives and pain medication are also given. The health care provider uses a needle to take a small piece of liver tissue. The health care provider may use ultrasound, computerized tomography scans, or other imaging techniques to guide the needle. After the biopsy, the patient should lie on the right side for up to 2 hours and is monitored an additional 2 to 4 hours before being sent home.

Genetic testing. The health care provider may refer a person suspected of having Alagille syndrome to a geneticist—a doctor who specializes in genetic disorders. For a genetic test, the geneticist takes a blood or saliva sample and analyzes the DNA for the JAG1 gene mutation. The geneticist tests for the JAG1 gene mutation first, since it is more common in Alagille syndrome than NOTCH2. Genetic testing is often done only by specialized labs. The results may not be available for several months because of the complexity of the testing.

The usefulness of genetic testing for Alagille syndrome is limited by two factors:

*Detection of a mutated gene cannot predict the onset of symptoms or how serious the disorder will be.

*Even if a mutated gene is found, no specific cure for the disorder exists.

When to Consider Genetic Counseling:
People who are considering genetic testing may want to consult a genetics counselor. Genetic counseling can help family members understand how test results may affect them individually and as a family. Genetic counseling is provided by genetics professionals—health care professionals with specialized degrees and experience in medical genetics and counseling. Genetics professionals include geneticists, genetics counselors, and genetics nurses.

Genetics professionals work as members of health care teams, providing information and support to individuals or families who have genetic disorders or a higher chance of having an inherited condition. Genetics professionals

*assess the likelihood of a genetic disorder by researching a family’s history, evaluating medical records, and conducting a physical exam of the patient and
*other family members

*weigh the medical, social, and ethical decisions surrounding genetic testing

*provide support and information to help a person make a decision about testing

*interpret the results of genetic tests and medical data

*provide counseling or refer individuals and families to support services

*serve as patient advocates

*explain possible treatments or preventive measures

*discuss reproductive options

Genetic counseling may be useful when a family member is deciding whether to have genetic testing and again later when test results are available.

Treatment:
Treatment for Alagille syndrome includes medications and therapies that increase the flow of bile from the liver, promote growth and development in infants’ and children’s bodies, correct nutritional deficiencies, and reduce the person’s discomfort. Ursodiol (Actigall, Urso) is a medication that increases bile flow. Other treatments address specific symptoms of the disorder.

Liver failure. People with Alagille syndrome who develop end-stage liver failure need a liver transplant with a whole liver from a deceased donor or a segment of a liver from a living donor. People with Alagille syndrome who also have heart problems may not be candidates for a transplant because they could be more likely to have complications during and after the procedure. A liver transplant surgical team performs the transplant in a hospital.

Pruritus. Itching may decrease when the flow of bile from the liver is increased. Medications such as cholestyramine (Prevalite), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), naltrexone (Vivitrol), or antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve pruritus. People should hydrate their skin with moisturizers and keep their fingernails trimmed to prevent skin damage from scratching. People with Alagille syndrome should avoid baths and take short showers to prevent the skin from drying out.

If severe pruritus does not improve with medication, a procedure called partial external biliary diversion may provide relief from itching. The procedure involves surgery to connect one end of the small intestine to the gallbladder and the other end to an opening in the abdomen—called a stoma—through which bile leaves the body and is collected in a pouch. A surgeon performs partial external biliary diversion in a hospital. The patient will need general anesthesia.

Malabsorption and growth problems. Infants with Alagille syndrome are given a special formula that helps the small intestine absorb much-needed fat. Infants, children, and adults can benefit from a high-calorie diet, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K. They may also need additional zinc. If someone with Alagille syndrome does not tolerate oral doses of vitamins, a health care provider may give the person injections for a period of time. A child may receive additional calories through a tiny tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. If extra calories are needed for a long time, a health care provider may place a tube, called a gastrostomy tube, directly into the stomach through a small opening made in the abdomen. A child’s growth may improve with increased nutrition and flow of bile from the liver.

Xanthomas. For someone who has Alagille syndrome, these fatty deposits typically worsen over the first few years of life and then improve over time. They may eventually disappear in response to partial external biliary diversion or the medications used to increase bile fl

Prevention:
Scientists have not yet found a way to prevent Alagille syndrome. However, complications of the disorder can be managed with the help of Doctors. Routine visits with Doctor are needed to prevent complications from becoming worse.

Hope through Research:The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research in digestive disorders, including Alagille syndrome. For example, the NIDDK is sponsoring a study called Evaluating the Genetic Causes and Progression of Cholestatic Liver Diseases (LOGIC). Funded under NIH clinical trial number NCT00571272, LOGIC will investigate the progression of cholestatic liver diseases, which can sometimes be caused by Alagille syndrome. The study will work to provide a better understanding of the causes and effects of these liver diseases, which will promote the development of prevention tactics and treatment strategies.

Clinical trials are research studies involving people. Clinical trials look at safe and effective new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. To learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate, visit the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website at www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrialsExternal NIH Link. For information about current studies,…click & see

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alagille_syndrome
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/Alagille-Syndrome/Pages/facts.aspx

 

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Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Definition:
Almost everyone overeats on occasion, having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal or devouring an entire bag of chips while watching a scary movie. Sometimes, though, overeating becomes a regular occurrence, shrouded in shame and secrecy. It’s called binge-eating disorder(BED), a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food.

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Binge eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop.Even the best of us occasionally overeats, helping ourselves to seconds, and even thirds; especially on holiday or festive celebrations. This is not a binge eating disorder. It becomes a disorder when the bingeing occurs regularly, and the binger is shrouded in shame and secrecy. The binger is deeply embarrassed about overeating and vows never to do it again. However, the compulsion is so strong that subsequent urges to gorge themselves cannot be resisted.

Binge eating disorder (BED), is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting 3.5% of females and 2% of males and is prevalent in up to 30% of those seeking weight loss treatment, Although it is not yet classified as a separate disorder it was first described in 1959 by psychiatrist and researcher, Albert Stunkard and was first termed Night Eating Syndrome (NES), Binge Eating Disorder was coined to describe the same bingeing type eating behavior without the nocturnal component. BED usually leads to obesity although it can occur in normal weight individuals. There may be a genetic inheritance factor involved in BED independent of other obesity risks and there is also a higher incidence of psychiatric comorbidity, with the percentage of individuals with BED and an Axis I comorbid psychiatric disorder being 78.9% and for those with subclinical BED, 63.6%.
Some experts say that binge-eating disorder is the most common of all eating disorders. Estimates suggest that up to 4 percent of the U.S. population has binge-eating disorder, with girls and women slightly more likely than boys and men to develop the condition. Both children and adults can develop binge-eating disorder, but it’s most common when in your 40s and 50s.

In many parts of the world binge eating disorder is not considered a distinct condition. However, it is the most common of all eating disorders. Perhaps as more research is published and scientists learn more about it, this may change.

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Signs & Symptoms:

You may have no obvious physical signs or symptoms when you have binge-eating disorder. You may be overweight or obese, or you may be of a normal weight. In fact, most obese people don’t have binge-eating disorder.

On the other hand, when you have binge-eating disorder you often have numerous behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms. These may include:

*Periodically does not exercise control over consumption of food.Eating large amounts of food
*Eats an unusually large amount of food at one time—more than a normal person would eat in the same amount of time.
*Eats much more quickly during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes.
*Eats until physically uncomfortable and physically feels like they’re on the verge of throwing up due to the amount of food just consumed.
*Eating even when you’re full
*Eats when depressed, sad, or bored.
*Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry.
*Usually eats alone during binge eating episodes, in order to avoid discovery of the disorder.
*Often eats alone during periods of normal eating, owing to feelings of embarrassment about food.
*Feels disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binge eating.
*Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
*Frequently eating alone
*Hoarding food
*Hiding empty food containers
*Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset about your eating.

After a binge, you may try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting your eating may simply lead to more binge eating, creating a vicious cycle.
Causes:
No one knows for sure what causes binge eating disorder. As many as half of all people with binge eating disorder have been depressed in the past. Whether depression causes binge eating disorder, whether binge eating disorder causes depression, or whether the two have a common cause, is not known for sure.

The trigger point can be emotion such as happiness, anger, sadness or boredom. Impulsive behavior and certain other emotional problems can be more common in people with binge eating disorder. However, many people also claim that bingeing occurs regardless of their mood.It is also unclear whether dieting and binge eating are related. Some studies show that about half of all people with binge eating disorder had binge episodes before they started to diet.

As with many mental illnesses, it’s thought that a variety of factors are at play in binge-eating disorder and may include:

*Biological. Biological vulnerability may play a role in developing binge-eating disorder. Both genes and brain chemicals may be involved. In addition, researchers are studying appetite regulation of the central nervous system for clues, along with gastrointestinal changes that might shed light on causes.

*Psychological. Psychological and emotional characteristics may also contribute to the condition. You may have low self-worth and trouble controlling impulsive behaviors, managing moods or expressing anger.

*Sociocultural. Modern Western culture often cultivates and reinforces a desire for thinness. Although most people who have binge-eating disorder are overweight, they’re acutely aware of their body shape and appearance and berate themselves after eating binges. Some people with binge-eating disorder have a history of being sexually abused.

Researchers also say that binge eating disorder is more common among competitive athletes such as swimmers or gymnasts whose body form is regularly on public display. Affected athletes in these sports tend to compare their own bodies in a negative way with those of their teammates. There is a research into how brain chemicals and metabolism affect binge eating disorder, but this study is in its early stages.
Complecations & Risk Factors:

Complications that binge-eating disorder may cause or be associated with include:
*Depression
*Anxiety
*Panic attacks
*Substance or alcohol abuse
*Obesity
*High blood pressure
*Type 2 diabetes
*High blood cholesterol
*Gallbladder disease
*Heart disease
*Stroke
*Osteoarthritis
*Joint pain
*Muscle pain
*Gastrointestinal problems
*Headache
*Sleep apnea
Frequent consumption of large amounts of food in a short period of time usually leads to weight gain and obesity, even though sufferers can maintain a normal weight for extended periods of time due to naturally high metabolism. The most problematic health consequences of this type of eating disorder is brought on by the weight gain resulting from the bingeing episodes.

People with binge eating disorder may become ill due to a lack of proper nutrition. Bingeing episodes usually include foods that are high in sugar and/or salt, but low in healthier nutrients, and are usually very upset by their binge eating and may become depressed. Those who are obese and also have binge eating disorder are at risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Most people with binge eating disorder have tried to control it on their own, but have not been able to control it for very long. Some people miss work, school, or social activities to binge eat. Obese people with binge eating disorder often feel bad about themselves and may avoid social gatherings. Those who binge eat, whether obese or not, feel ashamed, are well aware of their disordered eating patterns, and try to hide their problems. Often they become so good at hiding it that even close friends and family members don’t know they binge eat.

Mental health experts are still trying to understand what factors may increase the risk of developing binge-eating disorder. The risk factors may vary from those of other eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Risk factors for binge-eating disorder may include:

*Dieting. Dieting is often a risk factor for anorexia and bulimia, but it’s not clear what role it plays in binge-eating disorder. People with binge-eating disorder have a mixed history of dieting — some have dieted to excess dating back to childhood, while others haven’t dieted. Dieting may trigger an urge to binge eat.

*Psychological issues. Certain behaviors and emotional problems are more common when you have binge-eating disorder. As with bulimia, you may act impulsively and feel a lack of control over your behavior. You may have a history of depression or substance abuse. Binge eaters may have trouble coping with anger, sadness, boredom, worry and stress.

*Sexual abuse. Some people with binge-eating disorder say they were sexually abused as children.

*Media and society. A preoccupation with body shape, weight and appearance is common when you have binge-eating disorder. Messages in the media that equate thinness with success may heighten the self-criticism that’s common in binge eating.
*Biology – the development of binge eating disorder may be linked to a person’s biological vulnerability, involving genes as well as brain chemicals. Current research is looking at how the appetite regulation of the central nervous system may affect people’s eating habits. There may also be clues in how some people’s gut functions.

*Some jobs – there is some looming evidence that a higher percentage of sportsmen, sportswomen and models have binge eating disorder compared to other people. Although some people suggest that individuals who work in catering (making and serving food) may be susceptible, further studies are required.
Diagnosis:
Binge-eating disorder is not yet officially classified as a mental disorder, and not all experts think it should be. Mental health experts hope that ongoing research will determine if binge eating is a distinct medical condition, a nonspecific type of eating disorder, or simply a cluster of symptoms.

Binge eating is similar to bulimia nervosa, another eating disorder, and some experts think it may be a form of bulimia. But unlike people with bulimia, who purge after eating, people with binge-eating disorder don’t try to rid themselves of the extra calories they consume by self-induced vomiting, overexercising or other unhealthy methods. That’s why most people with binge-eating disorder are overweight. In fact, some experts say that binge eating may be a type of obesity disorder.

In any case, when doctors suspect someone has an eating disorder, they typically run a battery of tests and exams. These can help pinpoint a diagnosis and also assess any related complications.

These exams and tests generally include:

*Physical exam. This may include such things as measuring height and weight; assessing body mass index; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; checking the skin; listening to the heart and lungs; and examining the abdomen.

*Laboratory tests. These may include a complete blood count (CBC), as well as more specialized blood tests to check such things as cholesterol levels, thyroid functioning, electrolytes and blood sugar, which may determine if you have metabolic syndrome.

*Psychological evaluation. A doctor or mental health professional will discuss your thoughts, feelings and eating habits with you. You may be asked about binge-eating symptoms, including when they started, how severe they are, how they affect your daily life and whether you’ve had similar issues in the past. You may also be asked to complete psychological self-assessments and questionnaires.

*Other studies. Other studies may be done to check for health consequences of binge-eating disorder, such as heart problems, gallbladder disease or sleep apnea.

Criteria for diagnosis:-
All these evaluations help doctors determine if you meet the criteria for binge-eating disorder or if you may have another eating disorder, such as bulimia. The criteria to diagnose mental health conditions are set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

The DSM says more research is needed before determining whether binge-eating disorder is truly a unique medical condition. However, it offers some criteria for diagnosing binge-eating disorder.

DSM diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder include:
*Recurrent episodes of binge eating, including eating an abnormally large amount of food and feeling a lack of control over eating

*Binge eating that’s associated with at least three of these factors: eating rapidly; eating until you’re uncomfortably full; eating large amounts when you’re not hungry; eating alone out of embarrassment; or feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after eating.

*Distress about your binge eating

*Binge eating occurs at least twice a week for at least six months

*Binge eating isn’t associated with inappropriate methods to compensate for overeating, such as self-induced vomiting

Some people may not meet all of these criteria but still have an eating disorder. As researchers learn more about eating disorders, the diagnostic criteria may evolve and change. Don’t try to diagnose yourself — get professional help if you have any eating disorder symptoms.

Treatment:-
People with binge eating disorder, whether or not they want to lose weight, should get help from health professionals including physicians, nutritionists, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers or by attending 12-step Overeaters Anonymous meetings. Even those who are not overweight are usually upset by their binge eating, and treatment can help them.

Although mental health professionals may be attuned to the signs of binge eating disorders, most physicians do not raise the question, either because they are uninformed about the condition or too embarrassed to ask about it. Because it is not a recognized psychiatric disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is difficult to get insurance reimbursement for treatments.

There are several different ways to treat binge eating disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches people how to keep track of their eating and change their unhealthy eating habits. It also teaches them how to change the way they act in tough situations. Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people look at their relationships with friends and family and make changes in problem areas. Drug therapy, such as antidepressants, may be helpful for some people.

Researchers are still trying to find the treatment that is the most helpful in controlling binge eating disorder. The methods mentioned here seem to be equally helpful. For people who are overweight, a weight-loss program to improve health and to build self-esteem, as well as counselling to pinpoint the root of their psychological problems triggering their binge episodes, might be the best choice.

Prevention:
While there’s no sure way to prevent binge-eating disorder, there may be ways to help. For instance, pediatricians may be in a good position to identify early indicators of an eating disorder and help prevent its development. During routine well-child checks or medical appointments, pediatricians can ask children questions about their eating habits and satisfaction with their appearance. Parents can also cultivate and reinforce a healthy body image in their children no matter what their size or shape. Be certain not to tease or joke about a child’s size, shape or appearance.

In addition, if you notice a family member or friend with low self-esteem, severe dieting, frequent overeating, hoarding of food or dissatisfaction with appearance, consider talking to him or her about these issues. Although you may not be able to prevent binge-eating disorder or another eating disorder from developing you can talk about healthier behavior or treatment options.
Lifestyle and home remedies:
Binge-eating disorder generally isn’t an illness that you can treat on your own. But you can do some things for yourself that will build on your treatment plan. In addition to professional treatment, follow these self-care steps for binge eating:

*Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions. If you have meal plans, do your best to stick to them and don’t let setbacks derail your overall efforts.
*Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
*Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But studies show that if you eat breakfast, you’re less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
*Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation and ability to binge eat.
*Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
*Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy. Understand that they have your best interests at heart.
*Get active. Talk to your health care providers about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.

Regular Exercise and Routine diet is the best form of  remedy for BED

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binge_eating_disorder
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/binge-eating-disorder/DS00608
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/binge_eating_disorder.htm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173184.php

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Eating Disorder

Definition:
An eating disorder is a compulsion to eat, or avoid eating, that negatively affects both one’s physical and mental health. Eating disorders are all encompassing. They affect every part of the person’s life. According to the authors of Surviving an Eating Disorder, “feelings about work, school, relationships, day-to-day activities and one’s experience of emotional well being are determined by what has or has not been eaten or by a number on a scale.” Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the most common eating disorders generally recognized by medical classification schemes, with a significant diagnostic overlap between the two. Together, they affect an estimated 5-7% of females in the United States during their lifetimes. There is a third type of eating disorder currently being investigated and defined – Binge Eating Disorder. This is a chronic condition that occurs when an individual consumes huge amounts of food during a brief period of time and feels totally out of control and unable to stop their eating. It can lead to serious health conditions such as morbid obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. ANAD, or the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders is a non profit organization aimed at fighting these disorders. They work primarily in areas such as research, educating the public and running a hotline which is dedicated to referring those afflicted by disorders to support groups, therapists, or inpatient/outpatient clinics.

…CLICK  SEE.

Eating disorders often are long-term illnesses that may require long-term treatment. In addition, eating disorders frequently occur with other mental disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders (NIMH, 2002). The earlier these disorders are diagnosed and treated, the better the chances are for full recovery.

Who Is At Risk?
Eating disorders,many people believe, occur mainly among young white females. This is not the case. While eating disorders do mainly affect women between the ages of 12 and 35, other groups are also at risk of developing eating disorders. Eating disorders affect all ethnic and racial groups and while the specific nature of the problem and the risk factors may vary, no population is exempt. Younger and younger children seem to be at risk of developing eating disorders. While most children who develop eating disorders are between 11 and 13, studies have shown that 80% of 3rd through 6th graders are dissatisfied with their bodies or their weight and by age 9 somewhere between 30 and 40% of girls have already been on a diet. Between ages 10 and 16, the statistic jumps to 80%. Many eating disorder experts attribute this behavior to the effects of cultural expectations. Stress is also considered to be a factor in the development of eating disorders. According to Abigail Natenshon, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, children as young as 5 show signs of stress related eating disorders. This includes compulsively exercising and running to burn off calories. Natanshon notes that as children reach puberty younger and younger, they are less equipped to understand the changes in their bodies. They understand the message of the media to be “thin” and try to fit in without comprehending the effects on their bodies. While eating disorders affect younger and younger children, not only girls but also boys suffer from eating disorders. Boys who participate in sports where weight is an issue and often boys who experience issues regarding sexual identity are at risk of developing eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa :……..CLICK & SEE

Anorexia nervosa is deliberate and sustained weight loss driven by a fear of becoming overweight and a distorted body image. It is not to be confused with anorexia, which is its symptomatic general loss of appetite or disinterest in food. DSM-IV characterizes anorexia nervosa as:

* An abnormally low body weight (the suggested guideline = 85% of normal for age and height, or BMI = 17.5).
* For postmenarcheal females, amenorrhea (the absence of three consecutive menstrual cycles).
* An intense fear gaining weight or becoming fat and a preoccupation with body weight and shape.

Most anorexics become so as adolescents, with 76% reporting onset of the disorder between the ages of 11 and 20.The mortality rate for those diagnosed with anorexia nervosa is approximately 6%—the highest of any mental illness—with roughly half of those due to suicide.There is a third type of eating disorder currently being investigated – Binge Eating Disorder. People who suffer from this disorder experience chronic episodes where they consume huge amounts of food in a very brief period. They experience feelings of being out of control. Unlike bulimia nervosa, they do not purge. Binge eating can lead to serious health risks such as morbid obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

Anorexics are commonly perfectionists, driven to succeed; yet they set unattainable standards of performance for themselves. When they fail to meet these standards, they look for a part of their lives they can control; food and weight become that “control” for them. Low self-esteem and constant self-criticism cause anorexics to constantly fear losing control, and even consuming a small amount of food could be considered a loss of control.

Bulimia nervosa………..CLICK & SEE
Bulimia nervosa is a cyclical and recurring pattern of binge eating (uncontrolled bursts of overeating) followed by guilt, self-recrimination and overcompensatory behaviour such as crash dieting, overexercising and purging to compensate for the excessive caloric intake.

Bulimics often have “binge food,” which is the food they typically consume during binges. Some describe their binge episodes as a physical high they feel, numbing out, going into auto-pilot, losing all control, immediate comfort, etc. The reasoning or triggers behind a binge may serve different purposes for different people. This binge episode leads the individual to feel guilt, shame, embarrassment, and complete failure. Bulimics try to regain control of themselves and the situation by purging the food–making up for their mistake. This leads to feeling famished and empty again, and therefore, another uncontrollable binge, followed by feeling powerless, and the vicious binge/purge cycle continues. Bulimics have extreme eating and exercising habits, instead of demonstrating moderation. This compulsive behavior is often echoed in similar destructive behavior such as sexual promiscuity, pathological lying, and shoplifting. Some bulimics not only struggle with the eating disorder, but these other harmful behaviors as well.

Binge-eating disorder……..CLICK & SEE
People with this recently recognized disorder have frequent episodes of compulsive overeating, but unlike those with bulimia, they do not purge their bodies of food (NIMH, 2002). During these food binges, they often eat alone and very quickly, regardless of whether they feel hungry or full. They often feel shame or guilt over their actions. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, binge-eating disorder occurs almost as often in men as in women (National Eating Disorders Association, 2002).

Causes:

Environmental

The media may be a significant influence on eating disorders through its impact on values, norms, and image standards accepted by modern society.  Both society’s exposure to media and eating disorders have grown immensely over the past decade. Researchers and clinicians are concerned about the relationship between these two phenomena and finding ways to reduce the negative influence thin-ideal media has on women’s body perception and susceptibility to eating disorders. The dieting industry makes billions of dollars each year by consumers continually buying products in an effort to be the ideal weight. Hollywood displays an unrealistic standard of beauty that makes the public feel incredibly inadequate and dissatisfied and forces people to strive for an unattainable appearance.  This takes an enormous toll on one’s self-esteem and can easily lead to dieting behaviors, disordered eating, body shame, and ultimately an eating disorder.

Biological

Patients with severe obsessive compulsive disorder, depression or bulimia patients were all found to have abnormally low serotonin levels. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are secreted by the intestines and central nervous system during digestion.

Researchers have also found low cholecystokinin levels in bulimics. Cholecystokinin is a hormone that causes one to feel full and decreases eating. Low levels of this hormone are likely to cause a lack of satiative feedback when eating, which can lead to overeating. Another explanation researchers found for overeating is abnormalities in the neuromodulator peptides, neuropeptide Y and peptide YY. Both of these peptides increase eating and work with another peptide called leptin. Leptin is released by fat cells and is known to decrease eating. Research found the majority of people who overate produced normal amounts of leptin but they might have complications with the blood-brain barrier preventing an optimal amount to reach the brain.

Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal cortex which promotes blood sugar and increases metabolism.High levels of cortisol were found in people with eating disorders. This imbalance may be caused by a problem in or around the hypothalamus. A study in London at Maudsley Hospital found that anorexics were found to have a large variation of serotonin receptors and a high level of serotonin.

Many of these chemicals and hormones are associated with the hypothalamus in the brain. Damage to the hypothalamus can result in abnormalities in temperature regulation, eating, drinking, sexual behavior, fighting, and activity level.

While scientists have determined that there are possible biochemical or biological causes leading to eating disorders because certain chemicals which control hunger, appetite or digestions are out of balance, experts such as Dr. Edward J. Cumella, executive director of the Remuda Treatment Programs, states that there are three components to eating disorders: 1. The genetic component; 2. The unique environmental factors, such as personal experiences; and 3) The shared environmental factors, such as culture. According to Dr. Cumella, “Some people are born with a predisposition to having an eating disorder and there are genetic markers that can push a person in the direction of anorexia or bulimia…but it does not guarantee that a person will automatically suffer from an eating disorder. The environment – a person’s life experience – still has to pull the trigger.”

Developmental etiology

Research from a family systems perspective indicates that eating disorders stem from both the adolescent’s difficulty in separating from over-controlling parents, and disturbed patterns of communication. When parents are critical and unaffectionate, their children are more prone to becoming self-destructive and self-critical, and have difficulty developing the skills to engage in self-care giving behaviors. Such developmental failures in early relationships with others, particularly maternal empathy, impairs the development of an internal sense of self and leads to an over-dependence on the environment. When coping strategies have not been developed in the family system, food and drugs serve as a substitute.

Trauma
Eating disorders should also be understood in the context of experienced trauma, with many eating problems beginning as survival strategies rather than vanity or obsession with appearance. According to sociologist Becky Thompson, eating disorders stemming from women of varying socio-economic status, sexual orientation and race, and finds that eating disorders and a disconnected relationship with ones body is commonly a response to environmental stresses, including sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, racism, and poverty. This reality is further detrimental for women of color and other minority women, since they are forced to live in a culture that embraces a narrowly defined conception of beauty: “people furthest from the dominant ideal of beauty, specifically women of color, may suffer the psychological effects of low self-esteem, poor body image, and eating disorders.

Gender wise:
“Frequent dieting and trying to look like persons in the media were independent predictors of binge eating in females of all ages. In males, negative comments about weight by fathers was predictive of starting to binge at least weekly.

Diagnosis:
Clinically, eating disorders are evaluated using instruments such as the Questionnaire of Eating and Weight Patterns (QEWP), which has specialized versions for adolescents and parents (QEWP-A, and QEWP-P). In addition to evaluating eating patterns, these tests also measure depression.

Medical problems that may arise as a result of eating disorders:

* Anorexia nervosa – Anorexia can slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, increasing the chance of heart failure. Those who use drugs to stimulate vomiting, bowel movements, or urination are also at high risk for heart failure. Starvation can also lead to heart failure, as well as damage the brain. Anorexia may also cause hair and nails to grow brittle. Skin may dry out, become yellow, and develop a covering of soft hair called lanugo. Mild anemia, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass, and light-headedness also commonly occur as a consequence of this eating disorder. Severe cases of anorexia can lead to brittle bones that break easily as a result of calcium loss.
* Bulimia nervosa – The acid in vomit can wear down the outer layer of the teeth, inflame and damage the esophagus (a tube in the throat through which food passes to the stomach), and enlarge the glands near the cheeks (giving the appearance of swollen cheeks). Damage to the stomach can also occur from frequent vomiting. Irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and death can occur from chemical imbalances and the loss of important minerals such as potassium. Peptic ulcers, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, which is a large gland that aids digestion), and long-term constipation are also consequences of bulimia.
* Binge-eating disorder – Binge-eating disorder can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Other effects of binge-eating disorder include fatigue, joint pain, Type II diabetes, gallbladder disease, and heart disease.

Treatment:
* Anorexia nervosa – The first goal for the treatment of anorexia is to ensure the person’s physical health, which involves restoring a healthy weight (NIMH, 2002). Reaching this goal may require hospitalization. Once a person’s physical condition is stable, treatment usually involves individual psychotherapy and family therapy during which parents help their child learn to eat again and maintain healthy eating habits on his or her own. Behavioral therapy also has been effective for helping a person return to healthy eating habits. Supportive group therapy may follow, and self-help groups within communities may provide ongoing support.
* Bulimia nervosa – Unless malnutrition is severe, any substance abuse problems that may be present at the time the eating disorder is diagnosed are usually treated first. The next goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate the person’s binge eating and purging behavior (NIMH, 2002). Behavioral therapy has proven effective in achieving this goal. Psychotherapy has proven effective in helping to prevent the eating disorder from recurring and in addressing issues that led to the disorder. Studies have also found that Prozac, an antidepressant, may help people who do not respond to psychotherapy (APA, 2002). As with anorexia, family therapy is also recommended.

.* Binge-eating disorder – The goals and strategies for treating binge-eating disorder are similar to those for bulimia. Binge-eating disorder was recognized only recently as an eating disorder, and research is under way to study the effectiveness of different interventions (NIMH, 2002).

You may click for more information :->BBC NEWS:20 Dec.2000

->National Institute Of Mental Health

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_disorder
http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/ken98-0047/default.asp

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Colic

Definition:
Colic is when an otherwise healthy baby cries more that three hours a day, for more than three days a week, between ages three weeks and three months. The crying usually starts suddenly at about the same time each day. This is actually just an arbitrary definition made years ago . By this definition, a surprising number of babies actually would have colic: some experts have even estimated as many as half of all babies!

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If your baby is crying a lot, you should call your doctor. Your pediatrician will want to check your baby to make sure there is no medical reason for the crying. If your baby’s doctor finds no underlying cause, then they will probably say your baby has colic. Colic is perfectly normal, and does not mean there is anything wrong with either baby or parents. Colic can be distressing for both you and your baby. But take comfort in the fact that it’s not permanent. In fact, in a matter of weeks or months — when your baby is happier and sleeping better — you’ll have weathered one of the first major challenges of parenthood.It does not have any lasting effects on the child or the mother in later life.

Signs and symptoms:

The baby’s cry is loud and they may have a red face and a tense, hard belly, because the abdominal muscles tighten with crying. Baby’s legs may be drawn up and fists clenched. This is often just the typical baby crying posture. However, the first time your baby has a long jag of inconsolable crying like this—with a tense, hard belly—you should call your doctor. This can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition that requires medical attention.
A fussy baby doesn’t necessarily have colic. In an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby, signs of colic include:

*Predictable crying episodes. A baby who has colic often cries about the same time every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Colic episodes may last anywhere from a few minutes to three hours or more on any given day. The crying usually begins suddenly and for no clear reason. Your baby may have a bowel movement or pass gas near the end of the colic episode.
*Intense or inconsolable crying. Colic crying is intense. Your baby’s face will likely be flushed, and he or she will be extremely difficult — if not impossible — to comfort.

*Posture changes. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles are common during colic episodes.
*Colic may affect up to about 25 percent of babies. Colic usually starts a few weeks after birth and often improves by age 3 months. Although a few babies struggle with colic for months longer, colic ends by age 9 months for 90 percent of babies.

Causes:
No one really knows what causes colic. Researchers have explored a number of possibilities, including allergies, lactose intolerance, an immature digestive system, maternal anxiety, and differences in the way a baby is fed or comforted. This last idea speculates that Baby’s immature nervous system can’t handle the stimuli of everyday life, and that crying is their only way of communicating this “overload.” An opposite hypothesis is that Baby needs more stimulation, and gets it through crying. Colic is mysterious, but not harmful to your baby. et it’s still unclear why some babies have colic and others don’t.

Diagnosis:
Your baby’s doctor will do a physical exam to identify any possible causes for your baby’s distress, such as an intestinal obstruction. If your baby is otherwise healthy, he or she may be diagnosed with colic. Lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests aren’t usually needed.

Treatment:
Colic improves on its own, often by age 3 months. In the meantime, there are few treatment options. Prescription medications such as simethicone (Mylicon) haven’t proved very helpful for colic, and others can have serious side effects.

A study published in January 2007 suggests that treatment with probiotics — substances that help maintain the natural balance of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract — can soothe colic. More research is needed, however, to determine the effects of probiotics on colic.

Consult your baby’s doctor before giving your baby any medication to treat colic.

Risk factors:
Infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy or after delivery have twice the risk of developing colic.

Many other theories about what makes a child more susceptible to colic have been proposed, but none seem to hold true. Colic doesn’t occur more often among firstborns or formula-fed babies. A breast-feeding mother’s diet isn’t likely to trigger colic. And girls and boys — no matter what their birth order or how they’re fed — experience colic in similar numbers.

Popular Myths related to colic?
Let’s debunk some of the popular myths about colic. Here are the facts:

*Babies do not cry to manipulate their parents.
*Holding babies and picking them up when they cry cannot “spoil” them.
*We do not know whether colicky babies are in pain or not, but they sure seem to be, and that can really stress out parents. Keep in mind that your baby may not actually be in pain or distress, but just doing what they need to do for their immature nervous systems.
*Giving rice cereal does not help solve colic.
*Studies have shown that Simethicone (Mylicon) and lactase (the enzyme that helps digest lactose—the sugar in cow’s milk—which is in breast milk if the mother consumes dairy products) do not help colic. ,
*Sedatives, antihistamines, and motion-sickness medications, like dicyclomine (Bentyl) are NOT safe or effective in treating colic in babies. Often grandparents will suggest these medications. They were commonly used years ago, but now we know better.

Self Care:

Your baby’s doctor may not be able to fix colic or make it go away sooner, but there are many ways you can try to soothe your baby. Consider these suggestions:

  • Feed your baby. If you think your baby may be hungry, try a feeding. Hold your baby as upright as possible, and burp your baby often. Sometimes more frequent — but smaller — feedings are helpful. If you’re breast-feeding, it may help to empty one breast completely before switching sides. This will give your baby more hindmilk, which is richer and potentially more satisfying than the foremilk present at the beginning of a feeding.
  • Offer a pacifier. For many babies, sucking is a soothing activity. Even if you’re breast-feeding, it’s OK to offer a pacifier to help your baby calm down.
  • Hold your baby. Cuddling helps some babies. Others quiet when they’re held closely and swaddled in a lightweight blanket. To give your arms a break, try a baby sling, backpack or other type of baby carrier. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby by holding him or her too much.
  • Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in an infant swing. Lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby, or buckle your baby in the car seat for a drive. Use a vibrating infant seat or vibrating crib.
  • Sing to your baby. A soft tune might soothe your baby. And even if lullabies don’t stop your baby from crying, they can keep you calm and help pass the time while you’re waiting for your baby to settle down. Recorded music may help, too.
  • Turn up the background noise. Some babies cry less when they hear steady background noise. When holding or rocking your baby, try making a continuous “shssss” sound. Turn on a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or play a tape or CD of environmental sounds such as ocean waves, a waterfall or gentle rain. Sometimes the tick of a clock or metronome does the trick.
  • Use gentle heat or touch. Give your baby a warm bath. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.
  • Give your baby some private time. If nothing else seems to work, a brief timeout might help. Put your baby in his or her crib for five to 10 minutes.
  • Mix it up. Experiment to discover what works best for your baby, even if it changes from day to day.
  • Consider dietary changes. If you breast-feed, see if eliminating certain foods from your own diet — such as dairy products, citrus fruits, spicy foods or drinks containing caffeine — has any effect on your baby’s crying. If you use a bottle, a new type of bottle or nipple might help.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s crying or your baby isn’t eating, sleeping or behaving like usual, contact your baby’s doctor. He or she can help you tell the difference between a colic episode and something more serious.

How you can help your baby relieve their colic distress?

Colic usually starts to improve at about six weeks of age, and is generally gone by the time your baby is 12 weeks old. While you are waiting for that magic resolution, try these techniques to help soothe your infant:

  • Respond consistently to your baby’s cries.
  • Don’t panic and don’t worry. If you are worried, bring your baby to their pediatrician.
  • When your baby cries, check to see if they are hungry, tired, in pain, too hot or cold, bored, over-stimulated, or need a diaper change.
  • Some parents find that carrying their baby more reduces colic. You can try different baby carriers to make it easier and free your hands. Many parents (and babies!) love slings once they get the hang of them—but sometimes it takes a little experimentation. One study found carrying babies four to five hours a day resulted in less crying at six weeks of age, as compared to carrying them only two to three hours a day. On the other hand, a later study by the same researcher did not find significantly less crying in babies carried more. So your best bet is just to see if it makes any difference with your baby.
  • Vacuum while wearing your baby in a baby carrier.
  • Rock your baby.
  • Change formula. Talk with your baby’s doctor first.
  • Breastfeeding moms can try changing their diets. In a recent study , researchers found that taking out allergenic foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy and fish) from the breastfeeding mom’s diet reduced crying and fussing in babies under 6 weeks.
  • Play music and dance with your baby.
  • Talk a walk with your baby in the stroller. This can really help with your stress level, in addition to soothing your baby.
  • Get support from family, friends, your religious community, neighbors, etc. Let them help in any way possible.
  • Take care of yourself and manage your stress. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting sleep and exercise, and having people to talk to can do wonders. If the stress or blues become too much, it’s good idea to get professional help. Your or your baby’s doctor might be able to help you figure out where to start.
  • Nurse your baby every 2-3 hours if you are breastfeeding.
  • Don’t smoke, and don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby. Babies of smokers cry more, and get sick more often, too. Smoker’s babies also have an increased risk of SIDS.
  • Quitting smoking during pregnancy may reduce the likelihood that your baby will develop colic . in addition to all the other benefits to you and your baby.
  • You could try a device that attaches to the crib. It’s designed to simulate a car ride, but it is not clear that the device actually works. The Sleep Tight Infant Soother consists of a vibration unit that mounts under the crib and a sound unit that attaches to the crib rail. Your pediatrician can tell you whether it would be a good idea to try in your baby’s case. The device is not promoted directly to consumers. Some insurance companies may reimburse the cost if you have a physician prescription. You can reach the manufacturer at 1-800-NO-COLIC or 1-800-662-6542. There is no research to prove that the Sleep Tight works, and some parents have been dissatisfied with it.
  • Provide white noise, such as running the vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer, or hair dryer near your baby while in their car seat. (Do not put your baby on top of the dryer—they could fall off!) White noise machines are also available. White noise simulates the whooshing sound your baby heard constantly while in utero. You can also do your own “whooshing” or “shushing” with your voice as you rock or carry your baby.
  • Go for a car ride.
  • Massage your baby. Find out how to do infant massage for colic. Massage has many benefits for both the baby and the giver of the massage.
  • Some parents have found that herbal tea is helpful. The combination of chamomile, fennel, vervain, licorice, and balm-mint was found to be effective in one study. Other traditional herbs for colic tea include anise, catnip, caraway, mint, fennel, dill, cumin, and ginger root. Gripe water, available in Britain and Canada, is made from dill. These remedies are not produced or regulated in the same standardized ways that medications are—so you don’t know exactly what you are getting. These herbs have not all been studied, and therefore it is not certain that they are all safe. More research is needed to be sure these preparations are safe and effective. If you choose to give herbal tea, start by giving only an ounce, and never give more than four to six ounces per day. Babies who fill up on tea don’t drink enough breast milk or formula and then have trouble growing. Please remember that just because something is “natural”, it is not necessarily safe.

Places where you to get more information about colic:
On the Web:

Recommended reading:

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, by Harvey Karp
    This book teaches you simple techniques based on other cultures where babies do not get colic, and on the idea a baby’s first three months are like a fourth trimester.
  • Check out the chapter on colic in the book, The Holistic Pediatrician (second edition), by Kathi Kemper.
  • Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, by Vimala Schneider McClure
  • Crying Baby: Resource List—recommended books about soothing crying babies.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/colic.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colic/

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