A number of sufferers who have sent in their stories to IBS Tales mention the term spastic colon, and you can tell from their stories that it is a term that is now dying out. Ann says that her mum used to call her symptoms spastic colon, and another sufferer says he was diagnosed 30 years ago, when ‘no-one had a clue about IBS and used to call it spastic colon or nervous stomach’.
Just because colon spasms are common doesnt mean you have to live with them. Home remedies should reduce colon spasms, and a visit to your doctor can ease any worries you have.
For most people with gastrointestinal disorders, dietary changes and stress relief are often good enough to improve overall health, including colon spasms.
To properly diagnose diverticulitis, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, checking your abdomen and pelvic region. Other tests include blood tests, pregnancy test for women, liver function tests, stool tests, and CT scans, which can help gauge severity of diverticulitis.
IBS diagnosis isnt simple, as there isnt a specific test and you cant diagnose the syndrome based on blood work. Your doctor will review your symptoms and rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. Some red flags indicating a more serious condition are unexplained weight loss, swelling or lump in the stomach, rectal bleeding, and anemia.
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Weak spots along the bottom of the large intestine can prompt the formation of diverticula. When pressure is added, bulges form. These bulges, or pouches, may protrude through the colon wall. When they burst or get infected, this marks the diagnosis of diverticulitis. It is worth noting that diverticula themselves do not necessarily create symptoms.
There is still a lot of debate over the actual cause of IBS. While stress is no doubt an important aspect, researchers believe that the main cause of IBS is a disruption of communication between the brain and the gut.
Researchers observed that people with IBS exhibit irregular colon motility patterns as a result of an unusual sensitivity in the nerve endings in the bowel. Hence, the term irritable. Because of this heightened sensitiveness, ordinary stimuli eating, stress, hormonal changes, gaseous distension, and certain medicines or foods can trigger an exaggerated response in people with IBS, causing irregular colon motility.
IBS doesnt cause any obvious detectable abnormalities in the digestive system, so there are no specific tests for the condition. Diagnosis is normally made through careful consideration of symptoms. A doctor will assess how long you have had symptoms and how severe those symptoms have been. The location of your pain will also be taken into account.
A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome will be considered if you have the typical symptoms and if you feel your stomach pain or discomfort either relieved by passing stools or linked to the need to go to the toilet frequently, or if you notice a change in the consistency of your stools. In most cases, bloating, hardness, or tension in the stomach, passing mucus, and aggravation of the symptoms after you eat will also steer a doctor more towards an IBS diagnosis.
Often times, IBS diagnosis is a case of ruling out other conditions, such as infection, celiac disease, and perhaps cancers.
Finding colon cancer at its earliest stage provides the greatest chance for a cure. People who are at an average risk of colon cancer are encouraged to consider screening at age 50. Those at increased risk should do it before 50. Screening options include using a scope to examine the inside of the colon, biopsy analysis, blood tests to check overall organ function or to test for chemicals that are sometimes produced by colon cancer.
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For many people, careful eating reduces IBS symptoms. Before changing your diet, keep a journal noting the foods that seem to cause distress. Then discuss your findings with your doctor. You may also want to consult a registered dietitian, who can help you make changes to your diet. For instance, if dairy products cause your symptoms to flare up, you can try eating less of those foods. You might be able to tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products because it contains bacteria that supply the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk products. Dairy products are an important source of calcium and other nutrients. If you need to avoid dairy products, be sure to get adequate nutrients in the foods you substitute or take supplements.
In many cases, dietary fiber may lessen IBS symptoms, particularly;constipation. However, it may not help pain or;diarrhea. Whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of fiber. High-fiber diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help prevent spasms. Some forms of fiber also keep water in the stool, thereby preventing hard stools that are difficult to pass. Doctors usually recommend a diet with enough fiber to produce soft, painless bowel movements. High-fiber diets may cause gas and bloating, but these symptoms often go away within a few weeks as your body adjusts.
Researchers dont exactly know what causes IBS. They think a combination of factors can lead to IBS, including:
Diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome are health conditions that affect the gastrointestinal system and, more specifically, the colon. Diverticulitis is brought on by infection or rupture of diverticula, which are bulges forming in the lower part of the large intestine or colon.
The risk of developing diverticula is usually higher for people over 40. Diverticula themselves do not cause many problems, but once the condition progresses into diverticulitis, it can be quite severe, leading to pain, nausea, and changes to bowels.
IBS is a functional disorder, which means, it is not a disease per se, so the symptoms dont have an identifiable cause. Those affected show no clinical signs of a disease and often have normal test results. IBS is often referred to as spastic colitis or mucous colitis, but thats an erroneous nomenclature, as itis signifies inflammation, and IBS does not cause inflammation.
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There’s no cure for IBS. But there are ways to take control of IBS symptoms.
Doctors often recommend:
IBS, with all its discomforts and inconveniences, doesnt cause damage to your digestive tract or lead to other health problems.
A 2010 trial found that when undergoing colonoscopy, people with IBS were no more likely to have structural abnormalities of the colon than healthy people.
They also found that people with IBS are at no greater risk of precancerous polyps or colon cancer.
Seek the advice of a doctor if you have any concerns about abdominal discomfort or changes in bowel habits. Symptoms of IBS can also indicate a variety of other conditions, including colon cancer.
Other signs that you should see a doctor right away include:
Having IBS doesnt increase your risk of colon cancer, but that doesnt mean you should ignore symptoms. To be on the safe side, tell your doctor about new symptoms such as rectal bleeding, narrowed stool, or weight loss.
Talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening. For most people, colonoscopy screening should begin at age 50.
If you have a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent screening.
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In general, there are few complications associated with this functional disease other than the symptoms of the disease itself. If someone has hemorrhoids, the diarrhea and constipation associated with IBS may irritate them. Moreover, a diet that is too strict limits nutrients that could cause problems related to lack of proper nutrition.
Irritable bowel syndrome does not lead to;
Your doctor, if he is even remotely up-to-date about these things, will probably have diagnosed you with IBS rather than a spastic colon. However, some medical terms take a while to die out, and unfortunately some really rather inappropriate and even insulting names sometimes get attached to illnesses and are difficult to get rid of .
If you doctor did say you have a spastic colon though there’s no need to worry, it is still irritable bowel syndrome, and patients who may have been diagnosed with spastic colon 20 or 30 years ago don’t need to worry that they’ve suddenly got two disorders rather than one if a new doctor switches to calling it IBS.
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While we do not know for sure what causes IBS, it is a multifactorial disorder that likely involves an interaction between the GI tract, bacteria in the gut, the nervous system, and external factors, such as stress.
Although not proven, theories exist as to factors that influence IBS symptoms, including:
The GI system is very sensitive to adrenalin the hormone released when one is excited, fearful, or anxious and to other hormones as well. Changes in female hormone levels also affect the GI tract, so IBS symptoms may worsen at specific times throughout the menstrual cycle. Since these hormones can affect the transit time of food through the digestive tract, this might account for the predominance of IBS in women, although direct evidence is still lacking.
It is important to note that since there is no definitive proof of the source of IBS, many promoted potential causes and advertised cures of this syndrome are simply speculation.
A low FODMAP diet may also help relieve symptoms of IBS. FODMAP refers to a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are not well absorbed in the small intestine and are rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. These bacteria produce gas, which can contribute to IBS symptoms.
The lists of foods both high and low in FODMAPs are extensive. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc. has suggestions of foods to eat and foods to avoid if you follow the FODMAP diet for IBS. Talk to your doctor for more information.
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Crohns disease is diagnosed when your intestine is inflamed and ulcerated. Symptoms include:
Another key symptom is abdominal pain or a tender mass, particularly on the right side of the lower abdomen.
Crohns disease usually begins in the lower part of your small intestine and can affect any part of your digestive tract including the esophagus, stomach, colon, and small intestine. The inflammation penetrates all layers of your bowel walls.
You may have abscesses in diseased parts of the bowel interspersed among areas that are perfectly healthy. This makes Crohns disease unique from ulcerative colitis, which usually involves inflammation of the colon thats not interrupted.
Q1. How can I tell the difference between colitis and irritable bowel syndrome? I have had various testing done and have been told that I only had some diverticulitis. But in the past few years, I have diarrhea every day. Most of the time it is uncontrollable, so I take a lot of Imodium and then I have problems with constipation. I have had barium enemas and have never had anyone tell me what I can do to stop the diarrhea. Is there any other test I should ask to have done?
The best way to differentiate between irritable bowel syndrome , ulcerative colitis, and microscopic colitis is to have a colonoscopy and extensive biopsies done so your doctor can closely look at your colon and the tissues inside it. Colonoscopy findings in people with irritable bowel syndrome are generally completely normal, and antispasmodic treatments, whether herbal or prescription, often help.
In ulcerative colitis, there are always visible ulcerations in the colon along with friability , scarring, and redness. Biopsies are taken to confirm that a diffuse inflammatory response is present. The initial treatment used for ulcerative colitis is one of the 5-aminosalicylic acid agents, which are anti-inflammatory drugs used to calm disease activity.
Since you are still uncertain about what your particular problem is, I would be sure to see a qualified gastroenterologist who can perform these tests and help you receive a correct diagnosis.
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My grandfather and I were known to have the same nervous stomach. As I got older and my IBS got worse, Ive used some of the things he told me worked for him. He never drank coffee or milk for instance. Unfortunately many people dont like talking about potty habits or whatever, so that family history may have been lost. Frankly, some of the older folks in my family seemed to go on about it all day!
Having IBS is very frustrating since you must follow a restrictive diet. There is some give and take when it comes to finding out what works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, so there will be a period of trial and error.
If you prefer to handle your problems using nature, there are some fantastic ways that you can help to heal your gut without all the side effects of medications. Here are some foods that are known to have healing properties in the gastrointestinal tract, which has a direct impact on irritable bowel syndrome.
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Stressfeeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmedstimulates colon spasms in people with IBS. The colon has a vast supply of nerves that connect it to the brain. These nerves control the normal rhythmic contractions of the colon and cause abdominal discomfort at stressful times. People often experience cramps or butterflies when they are nervous or upset. But with IBS, the colon can be overly responsive to even slight conflict or stress. Stress also makes the mind more tuned to the sensations that arise in the colon and makes the stressed person perceive these sensations as unpleasant.
Some evidence suggests that IBS is affected by the immune system, which fights infection in the body. The immune system is also affected by stress. For all these reasons, stress management is an important part of treatment for IBS. Stress management comprises:
There are also times when you should see a doctor for colon spasms. When you go to get your digestive system checked out, diagnosis might include stool or blood tests, x-rays, or possibly a colonoscopy.
If you believe your colon spasms are caused by IBS, we always run a SIBO test on our incoming patients. At PrimeHealth Denver, we find most cases of IBS are triggered by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, abbreviated as SIBO.
Here at PrimeHealth, we will work with each patient to identify which of the many IBS triggers a patient is dealing with.
When you visit your doctor, here are some of the medical treatment options they may suggest or prescribe:
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