(IBS) Spastic Colon Symptoms in Women and Men

There is no significant difference between spastic colon symptoms in women and men. Spastic colon or now much more familiar called IBS ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ is one of common disorders that affects gut /intestine. Although doctors and experts say that this kind of digestive problem cannot be completely cured, but there are some people claim that they successfully cure their IBS.

While the issue of curable & incurable of this disorder is still debatable, but it’s clear that this digestive problem can be controlled.

Sometime it can be very bothersome, but again you can manage it with the right strategies. And in fact many people with irritable bowel syndrome can cope with the problem!

Spastic colon or IBS – What actually is it?

As mentioned before, it is a common functional disorder of the intestine. As the name implies ‘functional disorder’, people with IBS have a problem with the function of their digestive system but they don’t have abnormality in the structure of their digestive system.

In other words, the function of intestine is upset, but all components of the intestine look normal. Therefore, people with IBS are not at high risk of developing other serious diseases that affect their digestive track because IBS itself doesn’t cause any damage to the intestines. Even doctors often say that it is only a group of symptoms that affects gut and typically occurs together – it is not a disease!

Spastic colon can occur at any age, but it is relatively more common diagnosed before the age of 35 (teenagers and young adults). In gender, women are more likely to have it than men. It is twofold as common in women as in men.

Understanding gastrointestinal (GI) track

Gastrointestinal track is a series of hollow parts or organs joined in a long track from the mouth to the anus. The major organs of GI track are mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines (including small & large intestines and rectum), and the end of GI track ‘anus’. Enzymes and hormones are released along with the movement of foods in the GI track to help digestion.

gastrointestinal_track_IBS

[Image credit to Mayo Clinic] The lower part of GI gastrointestinal track consists of large intestines (colon) and anus. Colon absorbs any remaining essential nutrients and water from digested foods. Then it converts wastes from liquid to become solid (stool). Solid waste then will be directed to the rectum. Stool is stored in the rectum prior to a bowel movement.

Spastic colon symptoms in women and men

The most common symptoms may include:

Having different patterns of bowel movement

spastic_colon_symptoms_illustrationIn people with spastic colon, their bowel movement patterns can change more often. Some of the following situations may occur:

  1. You may experience less bowel movement (constipation) or more often (diarrhea) than usual.
  2. Your bowel movements are followed with different patterns of consistency or size – such as watery, loose, small, hard, pencil-thin, or stools with mucus.
  3. Some changes of the way you pass the stools – such as you feel that you have not passed the stool completely (feeling of incomplete bowel movement), suddenly you have an urge to get a bowel movement (diarrhea), and you may strain during a bowel movement (constipation)!
  4. Some people with IBS may also experience diarrhea that alternate with constipation.

Abdominal discomfort and pain

Pain and discomfort in different parts of abdomen is another common symptom. They can come and go. Furthermore the length of each episode of abdominal pain and discomfort varies. They usually will go away after the bowel movement. Many people call and describe these discomfort sensations as a colic /spasm.

Pain is more likely to occur in the lower abdomen than in other parts of abdomen. Sometime this discomfort sensation is followed with constipation or diarrhea – or alternating diarrhea & constipation.

Bloating

You may also experience swelling and bloating of your stomach or have excessive gas in the gut – this can occur from time to time. When this symptom strikes, people with spastic colon can pass more wind /gas than usual.

Other symptoms

According to Health Wise, some people with irritable bowel syndrome sometime also can experience some non-gastrointestinal discomforts and symptoms which may include:

  1. back pain,
  2. problems of sleeping such as insomnia,
  3. heart palpitations (fluttering heart beat),
  4. decreased sexual interest,
  5. problem of frequent urination,
  6. lack of appetite due to bad taste in the mouth,
  7. dizziness,
  8. weakness (particularly if diarrhea strikes),
  9. and some mood changes (such as depression or anxiety).

Other signs and symptoms that may occur are muscle pains, nausea, and feeling full quickly after eating.

How to distinguish between symptoms of spastic colon and other serious conditions?

As written before, spastic colon is only a functional disorder of the gut. Though its symptoms sometime can be very bothersome, it doesn’t damage other parts or organs of your digestive system.

If you notice blood in the stool, it is not the symptom of this disorder. It may point to other mild or serious health conditions – see you doctor for clearly diagnosis!