Spastic Colon or IBS
Spastic colon is also referred to as IBS, which is an abbreviation for irritable bowel syndrome. Of all the persistent health disorders in the UK, Canada, America, Australia, and New Zealand, spastic colon (further referenced IBS), is the most common (http://www.wisegeek.com).
Individuals in their late teens up to their early 40’s are the most likely to develop IBS. IBS primarily affects the large intestine. The bowel and colon are simply other words that describe the large intestine. The fact that the bowel of the individual with IBS plainly fails to work properly, classifies IBS as a functional disorder, rather than a disease.
While there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be effectively managed or eliminated. One theory about the cause of IBS states that there is a breakdown in communication between the brain and the intestine which interferes with the way the muscles in the intestine move.
Symptoms of IBS include: considerable bouts of diarrhea or frequent bouts of constipation. Sufferers of IBS often have bouts of both constipation and diarrhea. IBS sufferers often complain of stomach pain that can range from minimal to agonizing and especially during bowel movements. They also have a frequent urge to have a bowel movement as well as bloating and gas.
Dehydration can occur as a result of excessive diarrhea. Some symptoms unrelated to the gastrointestinal track but sometimes associated with IBS include: nervousness, depression, lethargy, headaches, backache, pain during sexual intercourse, feeling that the patients heart is skipping beats or fluttering and/or urinary symptoms.
For the female, IBS symptoms are more prevalent during menstruation and for males and females, symptoms occur frequently during times of stress, as a result of using antibiotics and after a meal. IBS is seen more frequently in those with a history in their family of having this disorder. (http://www.webmd.com).
In the diagnoses of IBS, other diseases must be eliminated as the cause of the symptoms. While there is not one test that provides a diagnosis of IBS, the tests that a heath care provider does will likely rule out other diseases which can be known to produce similar symptoms. Some of these illnesses that the provider might chose to rule out are: gallstones, diverticulities/diverticulosis, obstructions of the bowel, cancer of the colon, ovarian cancer, parasites, allergies to food and infections.
There are certain medications that produce symptoms of IBS. Some examples are certain antacids, iron and high blood pressure medications. Those with an inability to tolerate dairy products (lactose intolerance) might also develop IBS symptoms. Patients with IBS are wise to provide the health care provider with a complete list of both prescription and non-prescription medications they are taking. They also need to present a list of food that seems to increase the IBS symptoms.
The tests for eliminating illness other than IBS should be based on the patients symptoms, age, medical history, and family medical history. Often these are done at the advice of a gastroenterologist after he/she has completed a physical exam. Some of the tests used to rule out these other illnesses, when IBS is suspected can include: blood work, ultrasound, stool samples, urine tests, x-rays of the abdomen, rectal exam, colonoscopy and gynecological exams (to include a blood test for cancer of the ovary). (http://www.helpforibs.com).
Management of IBS includes a diet that includes a high intake of fiber. The higher volume of fiber is prescribed to assist in regulation of the elimination process and thus, the bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Diet modifications for IBS also include a decrease in the amount of sugar. Sugar has been know to cause diarrhea.
A probiotic diet (one with active yeast cultures) might also be prescribed and the patient might be ask to refrain from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco use. Health care providers might suggest an increase in the amount of water the patient drinks and a reduction in stress.
There are a variety of medication used to treat the symptoms associated with IBS and some of them are listed as follows:
Antispspasmodics- These are used to relax the muscles of the colon in order to relieve pain.
Antidiarrheal- Such as Imodium, to control diarrhea.
Laxities- to produce more regular bowel movement when the patient is experiencing constipation.
Antidepressants- to lessen the symptoms of depression which may be a cause of IBS.
All medication can produce side effects which must be weighed against the benefits of taking them.
While IBS cannot be cured, there are a great deal of things that can be done to make the symptoms lessen and improve the quality of life for the person who is dealing with the disorder.