Colic, in its strictest sense a severe and moving pain in the colon, or large intestine; but pains having their seat in the small intestines, and in any of the abdominal viscera, are now included under this term. Bilious colic is attributed to excessive secretion or acridity of the bile; flatulent colic to the accumulation of intestinal gases; painters' colic to the poisonous and paralyzing influences of lead; hepatic colic to the passage of gall-stones along the biliary ducts. Besides these there are menstrual colic, preceding or accompanying the menstrual discharge; nephritic colic, in inflammation of the kidney, or during the passage of calculi along the ureters; verminous colic, due to the irritation of worms in the intestines; uterine colic, having its seat in the uterus; nervous colic, arising from a spasmodic contraction of any part of the alimentary canal, from the stomach to the colon; so that colic, or shifting abdominal pains, is a symptom of a great variety of diseased conditions, both functional and organic. The disease generally understood by colic has its seat in the small intestines, which seem to be variously rolled and twisted, accompanied by very severe pain and constipation.

The treatment is as various as the causes, consisting of opiates to relieve pain, antispasmodics to arrest irregular nervous action, stimulating cathartics and enemata, hot external applications to the abdomen, carminatives to remove flatulence, the inhalation of ether during the passage of biliary and renal calculi, and antiphlogistic and demulcent remedies when accompanied by any inflammatory symptoms. Children are particularly subject to colic, but are easily relieved by familiar domestic remedies. Lead colic will require further mention in its proper place; copper colic resembles it, except that it is generally accompanied by diarrhoea, instead of the obstinate constipation which is so characteristic of the disease produced by lead.