What Causes Colon Spasms?

Colon spasms often cause cramping and pain.
The colon and rectum.
Endometriosis causes the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus to spread to other parts of the body.
Tobacco use may cause colon spasms.
Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Colon spasms are involuntary contractions involving the intestines, a condition that can cause pain, cramping, and frequent bathroom emergencies. A medical condition known as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the most common cause of colon spasms, although other factors may cause this symptom as well. Chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease can lead to the development of spasms in the colon. Other medical conditions that can lead to this symptom include endometriosis, bacterial infections, or bowel obstructions. Although there is no cure for chronic spasms of the colon, diagnosis and treatment of any underlying health issues can often help to lessen the severity and frequency of the symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome is the most frequently diagnosed cause of colon spasms. The exact cause of IBS is not completely understood, but symptoms can usually be managed quite well by making a few dietary changes and lifestyle modifications. Some foods, such as dairy products, caffeine, and certain fruits or vegetables, are particularly prone to triggering symptoms. Food sensitivities vary from person to person, so dietary changes are often a matter of trial and error. Although stress is not thought to cause irritable bowel syndrome, it is believed to trigger symptoms in some people, so relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are often recommended as a treatment option.

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Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are known for causing painful colon spasms. The former is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can cause potentially life-threatening complications if not properly treated. Crohn's disease can cause severe pain, malnutrition, or intestinal blockages. There is no known cure for either of these conditions, but the implementation of dietary changes and the use of prescription medications may be able to adequately control symptoms.

Endometriosis is a condition that affects women and causes the tissue that normally grows inside of the uterus to spread to other parts of the body. When endometrial tissue attaches to the intestines, painful colon spasms can develop. The symptoms often worsen in accordance with the menstrual cycle. In many cases, surgical removal of the uterus can stop the growth of this tissue and lessen the severity and frequency of the intestinal spasms.

Bowel obstructions or bacterial infections can lead to severe medical problems and may even be fatal in extreme cases. Colon spasms may present as a symptom in either of these conditions. If treated promptly, life-threatening complications can usually be avoided.

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Discuss this Article

honeybees
Post 4

I used to be very overweight, had a poor diet and never did any regular exercise. When I started having some health problems, I decided to make some changes.

I was having a lot of indigestion and colon pain spasms. I wanted to see if losing weight and a regular exercise program would make a difference. I was hoping to make changes that would take care of my symptoms without going on medication.

The two things I did that seemed to make the most difference were adding fiber to my diet and getting regular exercise.

By eating more fruits and vegetables and less junk, I lost some weight and felt like a new person. I wasn't surprised when my colon spams went away either.

julies
Post 3

I was having a lot of bowel and indigestion problems and was afraid I had cancer. My doctor told me I had irritable bowel syndrome, which I was relieved to hear.

Even though studies show that stress does not cause these symptoms, I think stress plays a big part in this problem. I know that when I am under a lot of stress, my IBS symptoms are always worse.

I have been working on managing my stress better and trying to eliminate caffeine. I was consuming a lot of diet soda, and the more stressed I was, the more I would drink.

When I keep my stress level under control and replace the caffeine with a healthier drink, I seem to have better control over my IBS.

sunshined
Post 2

I don't have Crohn's disease, but have had a spastic colon for a long time. Through the years I have learned that certain foods seem to trigger this. I try to avoid these at all costs, no matter how good they sound.

I used to love dairy products and enjoyed eating things like ice cream and cottage cheese. I also enjoyed a big glass of milk with my meal. I have had to eliminate almost all dairy products from my diet.

Sometimes I give in and might eat a little bit of ice cream. I am usually sorry I have done this, and have found it isn't worth the consequences.

A spastic colon can be both painful and embarrassing, depending on where you are. Knowing what sets it off is helpful even though those foods can be tough to avoid sometimes.

myharley
Post 1
A good friend of mine has fought Crohn's disease for many years. He has been hospitalized many times and it is still a daily battle for him.

He has no idea when the spasms in his colon will start. Basically he knows he can never be very far away from a bathroom.

Sometimes this can be kind of embarrassing for him, but it has become a way of life for him. It doesn't seem like there are certain foods that set this off either. He just knows at any time he needs to be able to get to the bathroom in a hurry.

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