A spastic colon, often referred to as an irritable bowel or overactive colon, is an intestinal disorder that occurs due to the abnormally frequent spasms of the large intestine. Medical professionals are unsure exactly why a spastic colon occurs, but some key triggers have been identified as causes of the symptoms. A spastic colon is a chronic condition and therefore has no cure, but instead goes through periods of remission and activity. However, these periods of activity can be effectively managed through a variety of treatments and lifestyle alterations.
Identify your symptoms as being those of a spastic colon. There are several symptoms characteristic of the condition, with the most common being diarrhoea, which lasts for more than two weeks. Diarrhoea is caused due to the overactive muscle movements of the intestine, which cause both liquid and solid food to pass through the digestive system at an accelerated rate, resulting in several loose stools a day. Additional symptoms include increased gas, abdominal bloating, and mild to severe abdominal cramping.
A common trigger for a spastic colon is stress, therefore a key element to reducing the effects of a spastic colon is to reduce the amount of stress in daily life. This means different things to different patients, and can be achieved through a variety of means such as reducing responsibility, practicing meditation or reorganising your general lifestyle to include more rest. Another key is to manage anticipated stress by preparing well in advance for potentially stressful situations, such as a large project at work or the birth of a new baby.
Monitor your diet. Some individuals find that eating too much dairy or too many processed foods can cause a flare-up in their symptoms. Individuals who have a spastic colon should try to be vigilant about what they're eating during periods of symptom activity so that they can identify--and subsequently cut down on--the foods causing their discomfort.
Eat a diet that reduces digestive strain. Just as food can be a trigger for spastic colon, incorporating certain types of foods into daily diet can significantly help keep symptoms at bay and in remission. Some main focus points for a spastic colon diet include increasing the amount of dietary fibre ingested, either through tablets, powder or foods high in dietary fibre. Also, a diet rich in lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains will help ease the strain of the digestive system and prevent symptoms from flaring.
Many individuals who suffer from a spastic colon find their symptoms adequately relieved through over-the-counter medications. Medications are available that can prevent diarrhoea, sooth abdominal cramping, and relieve gas and bloating. Additionally probiotic supplements, which are full of helpful digestive bacteria, can manage the symptoms of a spastic colon to the point where it becomes a non-issue.
If your symptoms continue and are not relieved by the above suggestions, contact your health-care provider for a full examination, as these symptoms could be indicative of a more serious condition.