COLIC (from co/on—see ALDIENTARY CANAL), a name employed by the later Greek and the Roman physicians to denote diseases attended with severe pain and flatulent distension of the abdomen, without diarrhea or looseness of the bowels. The disease (commonly called gripes or belly-ache) is now generally believed to be spasmodic in char acter, and to be dependent upon irregular contractions of the muscular coat of the intestines: its supposed particular connection with the colon, or large intestine, how ever, is not usually to be made out from the symptoms. Painful disorders of the bowels are very frequent in persons who are not attentive to the regular evacuations, especially when they are exposed to cold so as to experience chill or coldness of the feet, which will often suffice to bring on an attack of colic. The disease is usually attended with constipation (q.v.), and ceases when the regular action of the bowels is restored, although often in this case the operation of medicine is attended by continued pain for a time. Warm fomentations to the abdomen may be employed with advantage, sometimes medi cated with opium, or decoction of poppy-heads; and great relief is commonly experi enced from friction with a warm liniment, such as opodeldoc, or the soap and opium liniment. Warmth to the feet, and the recumbent posture, are also to be recommended. In very severe or protracted cases, opium may be taken internally. A good remedy in such cases is a full dose of castor-oil (one oz. or more for an adult), with 30 or 35 drops of laudanum, or of solution of morphia. (Opiates should not be given to children except under medical advice, and in very reduced doses.) When C. resists such mild
and simple remedies as the above—when it is accompanied by tenderness'of the belly, or by hard swelling in any part of it—when constipation is obstinate, or vomiting is present —when there is feverishness, or tendency to exhaustion—or when there is reason to believe that it may depend on any other cause than the mere accumulation of the pro ducts of digestion in the intestines, no time should be lost in seeking the best medical assistance that can be procured; for C. is closely allied as a symptom to several very severe and dangerous diseases. One of these complicated forms of C. is termed 'lens (Gr. eilcon, from the idea that its seat was in the small intestine, ileum). It is attended with obstruction of the bowels, often from mechanical twisting or involution of one part with another (hence termed volrulu4 This is, of course, a disease of extreme danger. The only treatment that can be attempted without medical assistance, is the employment of large injections by the lower bowel, and opium in moderate and repeated doses grain to 1 grain, or 12 to 20 drops of laudanum) by the mouth, carefully watched, and discontinued it there is any sign of narcotism. See °mum. C. pains are also pres ent in peritonitis (q.v.), another most dangerous form of disease; and they form one marked symptom of the slow poisoning by lead (q.v.), occasionally observed as the con sequence of contamination of drinking water by leaden cisterns, etc. In this form, the treatment is different from that of simple C., and will be treated of under lead-poisoning.