Allergic Colitis | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of allergic colitis?

While symptoms may not appear until a baby turns 6 months old, most babies show signs within the first two months of life. In most babies, the symptoms are mild, occasionally may worsen.

A baby with allergic colitis may be extremely fussy, difficult to console and develop flecks or streaks of blood in the stool. Some infants also have diarrhea and vomiting, and some may show other signs of allergies, such as nasal congestion or eczema. It's important to remember that allergic colitis falls on a spectrum — some babies are much more sensitive to milk protein (and have more severe symptoms) than others.

Many babies go through a period of reflux (spitting up food), in the first year of life, but babies with allergic colitis may have an especially hard time with reflux. Treating the colitis may lead to an improvement in the reflux, but some of the reflux maybe not be related to the allergy process.

What are the causes of allergic colitis?

Allergic colitis seems to be caused by a combination of changes to the mother''s immune system during pregnancy, and the immaturity of a baby's own immune system. But it's not yet known why some babies develop the condition and others don't.

There may be a hereditary component, since babies who come from families with a history of food allergies, asthma or environmental allergies seem to be more likely to have allergic colitis.