Colon Spasms

Colonic spasm is among the most chronic health issues affecting most individuals in the United States. This condition is characterized by severe and sudden muscle contraction of the colon. Colon essentially stands for the large intestines. It is an integral part of the digestive system in the body of humans that forms, stores and expulses feces. Colonic spasms reveals itself with symptoms like cramps and pain in the lower abdomen, alternate constipation and diarrhea, gaseous distension and bloating of the abdomen.

Colon spasm is a practical symptom basically linked to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  The precise cause of IBS is unknown though factors like frustration, stress, nervousness, and meals with too much fat are potential triggers of colonic spasm. Spastic colon is a functional disorder, not a disease, which translates to the fact that the bowel will just not work as it should.

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Symptoms and Signs of Colon Spasms


Below discussed are some of the symptoms associated with colon spasms:

  • Abdominal cramps: The pain is normally centered in the lower abdomen or round the umbilicus, particularly the left side. These spasms can occur at any time of the night or day. There are times when the patient will be woken in their sleep to rush to the washroom.
  • The abdominal pain temporarily or completely stops after defecation
  • Accompanied by pain, the patient suffers altered bowel motions. This is dependent on the set of chronic muscles involved. There are two distinct kinds of colonic muscles: the longitudinal that run along the large intestines and the circular which encircle the colon. When spasms happen in the longitudinal muscles, the patient suffers diarrhea while when spasms are of the circular muscle they lead to constipation.
  • For the patients suffering from constipation, there is the sense of incomplete relief which can be very distressing. Most patients will tend to visit the toilet several times.
  • The consistency of stool can vary from small quantities semisolid to liquid mucus like substance for those individuals suffering diarrhea. The constipated patients will have hard and pellet like stool accompanied by mucus.
  • After defecation, the abdominal pain is relieved momentarily
  • Even though the main symptoms are centered on the colon, there are those patients who will have accompanying signs like abdomen bloating as well as heartburn.
  • Extra intestinal signs like cramps while menstruating, increased urination frequency and headaches are also seen in patients suffering from colon spasms.
  • Most of the patients with colon spasms have very stressful life events.


Causes of Colon Muscle Spasms


The precise cause of colonic spasms is still unknown. It is however believed to be due to a functional cause. These spasms are normally involuntary, which means that they cannot be controlled by any individual. A medical disorder referred to as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a root cause of colon spasms, though it is also a result of many other triggers. Some other causes include:

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  • Chronic constipation
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Intestinal bacterial infections
  • Ulcerative colitis.


The reason as to why most patients get referred to a gastroenterologist is because of IBS. Many patients suffer from IBS. The precise reason is unfounded, but stressful events in the life of an individual as well as lifestyle factors are found to be main causes. This condition can also be aggravated further by excessive consumption of spices, tea and coffee.




Essentially, diagnosing spastic colon is an exclusion process. There is no particular medical test existing that will be positive for colon spasms; rather, the doctor will test the patient for all the other illnesses that can be identical to spastic colon, and when the tests are negative, they will be diagnosed with colon spasms. Particularly, it is crucial that the below diseases are excluded prior to accepting a diagnosis of colon spasms:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Gallstones
  • Colon cancer
  • Food allergies
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Bacterial infections
  • Celiac
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Colon cancer
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis


It is imperative that all the possible structural, infectious and physical abnormalities in the GI tract are eliminated before agreeing to a diagnosis of spastic colon. This will need a physical exam, by a certified gastroenterologist, and may entail the studies below:

  • Urinalysis
  • Stool for blood, parasites and ova
  • Breath test for the small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Rectal examination
  • Colonoscopy
  • Liver function tests
  • Breath tests and/or blood tests for lactose or fructose intolerances


Treatment Alternatives for Colon Spasms

The most vital step in treating colonic spasms arising from IBS is reassuring the patient psychologically.  Regardless of the prolonged discomfort, the patient must be assured that there will be no grave complications that will come from IBS.

In the event that the person is much tensed with the condition, antianxiolytic medicines and tranquilizers can be administered.

The patients must be advised to change their diet. Spicy meals and milk must be reduced for the patients suffering from diarrhea.

For those with too much gas, cabbage, legumes and milk must be restricted. There are so many patients who get relief when they eliminate mean in their meals.

Some of the patients will need antispasmodic medications to reduce the cramps and pain.

Chamomile tea, yogurt, ginger tea and peppermint tea are very effective and useful home therapies that aid in alleviating spasmodic signs of the colon.

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