IBS or irritable bowel syndrome or also familiar called as spastic colon is a collection of symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort & pain, and cramping. Though many experts say that is less severe than other serious digestive diseases (such as IBD or ulcerative colitis) but it can be very frustrating and sometimes very painful. How does it start and how long it last?
In general, spastic colon is not categorized into serious health condition. Even there is no specific test to help doctor diagnose it. It also doesn’t cause other serious health conditions, such as permanent damage in the colon /intestines and cancer. What else you need to know? Keep reading!
Unfortunately, experts still don’t have a clearly answer for the exact cause of this digestive problem. In other words, it is still not clear why IBS occurs. Some studies are ongoing to find the answer.
In few cases of this syndrome, it occurs after a certain infection that affects the intestines. This possible cause is often called post-infectious IBS.
In general, experts believe that there are a number of reasons that can trigger the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
Many studies have confirmed that there is a link between the gut /intestines and the brain. Another possible cause is the wrong way of message from the brain that sent to the intestines. In patients with this syndrome, the signals from the brain may go back and forth between the brain & the bowel. As a result, this can affect the way of bowel to work.
Stress management is also important for patients with spastic colon. If you have it and experience stress, the symptoms usually will get worse. During stress, the nerve can become more active than normal, which then may make the intestines become contract (squeeze) more and also more sensitive to any foods that move through the tract of intestines.
Unlike the causes of irritable bowel syndrome that is still a mystery – some statistics and studies have confirmed some risk factors of this syndrome. You are more likely to have it if:
- You have a first-degree relative (such as mother, father, sister, or brother) who has spastic colon. In other words, experts believe that it runs in the family. However, having a family history of spastic colon doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop the same problem. But your risk is relatively higher than others who don’t have any family member with IBS.
- The age! In fact, spastic colon can occur at any age. But it is more common in people of early adulthood or teen years. Some studies confirm that is more likely to occur before the age of 35.
- You are a woman. Women are 2 times more likely to have spastic colon than men!
Irritable bowel syndrome is pretty common in the U.S — about 1 out of every 6 people in this country have it, according to the National Institutes of Health! Even spastic colon is top leading cause of digestive problem that makes patients to be referred to a gastroenterologist /a bowel specialist.
Unfortunately, doctors often say that IBS cannot be cured completely – though there are also few people who claim that they can get rid of IBS. In other words, the goal of treatment is commonly focused to control and relief the symptoms.
This disorder may be a lifelong condition (chronic). Therefore, doctors often don’t have the answer with certainty about how long it lasts! With appropriate diet, healthy living, regular exercise, stress management, improved sleep habit, or some medical interventions if necessary – the symptoms can be relieved, but however this doesn’t mean that IBS have been completely cured and never comes again.
For some people with IBS, the symptoms may only flare up for only a few weeks then decrease and disappear for a while. For others, the symptoms can be present for most of time. Nevertheless, most patients with spastic colon find ways of living with it without needing to restrict themselves too much.