Spastic colon is also known as irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that can be disruptive to your daily lifestyle. Those suffering from a spastic colon experience frequent and painful abdominal cramping, constipation, bouts of diarrhea, and bloating.
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome involves spontaneous contractions in the muscles of the small and large intestines. The contractions are often referred to as spasms and last for a period of twelve weeks at the minimum to be diagnosed as IBS. These twelve weeks do not have to occur in consecutive order to be considered as irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, in order for a diagnosis of IBS or spastic colon, a person will need to have a certain classification of symptoms. These classifications include:
- Experiencing symptom relief after a bowel movement
- Experiencing pain associated with a change in bowel movement frequency
- Experiencing pain associated with a change in appearance of stool
Spastic colon symptoms also include headaches, mucus in the stool, unable to have a bowel movement despite the feeling of ‘having to go’, and lower back pain. Any presence of blood in the stool or symptoms of fever, chills, sudden weight loss, or severe pain indicate more serious medical conditions and medical treatment should be sought immediately.
Spastic colon can be caused by a number of factors including medications, large meal consumption, alcohol consumption, and milk/dairy products. Some individuals develop a spastic colon after ingesting chocolate, rye, wheat, barley, caffeinated beverages, and due to emotional distress, stress and anxiety, or similar triggers. Women are often diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome while experiencing their menstrual cycle.
Treatment for spastic colon and its symptoms may involve soluble fiber products and laxatives depending on the severity of the condition as determined by a doctor. Stress relieving exercise and acupuncture have also been known to help relieve symptoms.