Spastic colon, also called IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a common chronic condition that affects approximately 20% of people around the world. Spastic colon affects people differently and can range from annoying to devastating. Fortunately, while there is no known spastic colon cure, it can be managed effectively with a combination of diet, lifestyle changes and medication, if necessary.
So what is spastic colon? This condition often includes an increase in contractions of the muscles of the large and small intestines. These spasm-like contractions are the reason for this name; however, spastic colon can also include decreased contractions, so this name is not necessarily descriptive of everyone’s experience with spastic colon or IBS. When increased contractions and motility are present, this causes waste to be transported through the colon too quickly, which leads to diarrhea. When decreased contractions and motility are present, the result is most often constipation. Other spastic colon symptoms include cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, passing mucus, urgency and feeling like evacuation is not complete after stool passage.
Living with spastic colon can be a day-to-day struggle that includes trying to determine which dietary and lifestyle changes will allow you to live your life as closely to normal as possible, and finding ways to work around this sometimes devastating condition. The frequent trips to the bathroom that many spastic colon sufferers must endure can be annoying and embarrassing, and can severely limit your ability to participate in regular daily activities. Depending on the severity of symptoms, it can be nearly impossible to take long car trips, participate in outdoor activities where there is no nearby restroom, or enjoy activities that most people take for granted, such as shopping, going out to eat or going on a date.
In fact, symptoms will often worsen during travel, social events or even simple changes in your regular routine, which makes meeting new people, dating and taking road trips even more difficult. Stress also has a strong influence on the severity of symptoms in most spastic colon sufferers, with symptoms becoming much more prevalent as stress increases. Because of this, learning to effectively manage stress and removing as many stressors as possible from your environment is a key component in managing spastic colon. Because depression is often an issue for spastic colon patients and stress can significantly worsen depression, learning to manage stress may assist you in improving both of these chronic ailments. Speaking to your healthcare provider about stress management may provide some insight on simple lifestyle changes or activities that will assist you, such as regular exercise, spending time with friends and partaking in favorite hobbies, which can all be effective stress management tools. Many people also find yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques helpful in managing stress.
Aside from managing stress, those learning to manage spastic colon may want to consider eating several small meals each day, rather than three larger ones, which sometimes prove helpful in controlling symptoms. Drinking plenty of water is also important, regardless of whether your specific spastic colon symptoms include constipation or diarrhea. In the case of spastic colon with constipation, the water can assist in improving motility, while those who have spastic colon with diarrhea need to ensure proper water consumption to avoid dehydration.
The most important thing to remember is that, while there is no cure, there is hope. There are a number of ways to manage spastic colon through diet, lifestyle changes, medication and stress management. The key to controlling your spastic colon is to find the right combination of tips and techniques that works for you.