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Spastic Colon Symptoms

A spastic colon, also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, is a condition bringing only discomfort and inconvenience. Though the condition is generally not considered to be life threatening, it’s important to seek treatment for alleviating spastic colon symptoms and returning to your normal lifestyle. Of course, the first step towards treatment is recognizing the symptoms and being properly diagnosed by a qualified physician.

Recognizing Symptoms of Spastic Colon

These symptoms can sometimes be difficult to identify because they are very similar to symptoms associated with many other digestive problems. Common spastic colon symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation (sometimes alternating)
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive gas
  • For most people, the symptoms disappear after having a successful bowel movement. Other symptoms of more extreme cases include:
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Feeling like having a bowel movement, even after having one.
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Spastic Colon Causes

Researchers are still baffled when it comes to what causes spastic colon. Many scientists believe it may have something to do with overly sensitive nerves in the colon, though this has yet to be proven. Many used to believe stress caused spastic colon, but this is no longer considered an accurate theory. Some research has indicated stress can cause spastic colon symptoms to worsen.

Whatever the cause, the result of a spastic colon is pain and discomfort when food and gas moves through the digestive system. This then causes spastic colon symptoms, such as irregular bowel movements, to develop.

Researchers also know women are twice as likely as men to suffer from spastic colon symptoms. Nonetheless, it is fairly common in the United States as nearly 10 to 20% of the population are coping with spastic colon and trying to get it under control. Nonetheless, only about half of those with the disorder actually seek medical treatment.

Diagnosing Spastic Colon

Being diagnosed for spastic colon can be tricky since the symptoms so closely resemble many other digestive problems. In addition, symptoms of a spastic colon can be a bit frightening since many of these other diseases are quite serious. Since there are no actual tests for spastic colon, it can only be diagnosed by the doctor testing for other diseases and ruling out the remainder until arriving at a conclusive diagnosis.

Despite the fact there is no specific test for spastic colon, you may have to undergo several tests if you are experiencing the symptoms. These tests may include examining your stool and taking blood samples. You might also have to undergo a sigmoidoscopy, which involves inserting a flexible tube in your rectum to examine it. Another option is the Barium X-ray, which involves receiving an enema of a special chalky solution for outlining the rectal tissue. The solution highlights any abnormalities you may have in your gastrointestinal tract.

In order to further test what may be causing your problem, the doctor may also specify dietary changes. If your body responds to certain changes in your diet, it can give your doctor a better idea of what your problem may be.

Treatment for Spastic Colon Symptoms

Once you have been diagnosed with spastic colon, you will need to work on alleviating the symptoms. If your symptoms are mild or intermittent, you might not feel a great urgency to treat the problem. If your symptoms are causing you to lose sleep, to miss work, or are interfering with your day-to-day activities, treatment may be imperative.

Since spastic colon cannot be completely cured, you need to focus on reducing the symptoms and thus their effect. You can do this by trying to determine which foods trigger digestive difficulties and removing these irritants from your diet. Since everyone is different, the foods triggering one person’s problems may not cause problems for someone else. There are, however, a number of foods and beverages most commonly associated with aggravating symptoms of a spastic colon. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Raw fruit
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty foods such as avocados, butter, cheese, cream, meats, oils, and whole milk
  • Foods and beverages containing the artificial sweetener Sorbitol
  • Broccoli, cabbage, kale, legumes, and other foods associated with producing gas

On the other hand, foods high in fiber can be very beneficial. These foods include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Care must be taken, however, to introduce these foods slowly in order to prevent additional gas from developing as this will also exacerbate problems with a spastic colon.

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