The colon is a large part of the digestive system involved in the process of eliminating waste from the body. Colon spasms occur when the muscles inside the colon contract involuntarily. There are a few causes of colon spasms and some ways to treat it once the underlying cause is identified.
One common cause of colon spasms is irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by abdominal cramping and pain, feelings of bloating and gas, and a change in bowel movements which can include constipation or diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome can be treated through medical tests such as a colonoscopy, but it can be diagnosed by a description of the symptoms. It is uncertain exactly what causes this condition, but a link has been shown between stress and diet. Some ways to deal with colon spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is to try to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of IBS by reducing stress and eliminating or reducing fatty foods, alcohol, dairy and caffeine from the diet.
Another cause of colon spasms is Crohn’s disease, which affects the small intestine. Like IBS, a main symptom of Crohn’s disease is diarrhea, although the diarrhea is often so severe that it can result in malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies due to loss of nutrients in the body. This is also because Crohn’s disease also interferes with digestion and nutrient absorption in the intestines. Different foods often trigger a negative reaction for people with the disease and a similar diet for IBS sufferers should be followed.
Another frequent cause of colon spasms is gas. When a person has severe gas, the abdominal muscles will cramp in such a way that will also force the colon to spasm as well. This is very common following certain meals such as beans, onions, or high fat, processed foods. In addition, women often also experience these symptoms during the menstrual cycle. Pain can be alleviated by taking gas medications such as gas x if gas is the cause, or something designed for menstrual cramps, such as Midol or Aleve. The pain and spams will normally subside on their own though, following a bowel movement.
Colon spasms seem to be highly influenced by diet, as the colon is a part of the digestive system. The best way to prevent pain associated with colon spasms is to maintain a healthy diet and eliminate foods known to cause irritation, gas and bloating.