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Homehealth and livingColon Spasm: What It Feels Like, Treatment, and Causes

Colon Spasm: What It Feels Like, Treatment, and Causes

The intensity of colon spasm may vary from person to personThe intensity of colon spasm may vary from person to person

The colon spasm is a symptom. It's a momentary tightening of the muscles of the gut that causes pain. This may be due to underlying causes, both benign and dangerous.

The intensity of colon spasm may vary from person to person; however, the most common symptoms observed noticed are:

  • Severe abdominal pain in the lower half of the abdomen, which seems to get worsened with every meal taken and relaxes with a bowel movement
  • Gas or bloating can discomfit you at any time of the day, regardless of the diet
  • Clear or whitish mucus in stool may be visible. This can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome
  • The feeling of incomplete emptying of the stool
  • Changes in the bowel movements that may alternate between diarrhea and constipation
  • Violent episodes of loose stools or diarrhea due to inconsistent motility
  • Tenesmus (Strong urge to pass stools due to muscle contractions of a colon spasm).
  • Abdominal cramps that may be severe enough to knock you out

What is a colon spasm?

Colon spasm is the sudden, abrupt, and painful contractions of the muscles in the colon. It is not a condition in itself and may indicate an underlying medical condition. The most common condition associated with colon spasm is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as spastic colon, as it causes abnormal contractions of muscles in the colon.

Other conditions may also cause spasm, which includes:

What causes colon spasm?

Several medical conditions may lead to colon spasm. Besides, certain factors may aggravate spasm. These include:

Irritable bowel syndrome: It’s a condition characterized by bloating, abdominal pain and changes in the bowel movement

Ulcerative colitis: It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes ulcers and inflammation inside the colon

Crohn’s disease: Another type of IBD, this condition is similar to ulcerative colitis but affects different parts of the stomach

Diverticulitis: It is swelling and infection of the outpouches of the large colon leading to pain and bleeding.

Endometriosis: It is a condition in which, there is an abnormal growth of the uterus lining in outside the uterus, especially in the bowel

Intestinal bacterial overgrowth: Too much of bacteria in the intestine can cause, diarrhea, weight loss, and vitamin deficiency

Stress or anxiety: Stress or anxiety can aggravate the spasm. With stress, the body may slow down the passage of food through the digestive system

Food allergies and intolerance: Intolerance or allergies to certain foods may also cause colon spasm.  Foods or ingredients that may cause intolerance or allergies include:

  • shellfish
  • peanuts
  • egg
  • dairy products
  • gluten-rich foods such as wheat, soya, etc.
  • monosodium glutamate
  • caffeine

How to treat colon spasm?

Treatment depends on the causes of the colon spasm and may vary. In general, making a diet or lifestyle changes may ease the discomfort of the colon spasm that include:

  • Including more of fibers in the diet
  • Probiotic ingestion
  • Following a special diet plan known as the FODMAP diet
  • Avoiding wheat or dairy products
  • Including a low-fat diet
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Avoiding stress 
  • Increasing physical activity

The physician may also recommend certain medications to relieve colonic spasm, which include:


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