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What is a Spastic Colon?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Spastic colon, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is a chronic condition in which the muscles in the intestines contract more often than normal. These contractions, called spasms, cause food to move through a person's intestinal tract too quickly or too slowly. Although symptoms vary from person to person, most people experience bouts of either significant diarrhea or constipation, constant pain in the stomach, and a feeling of bloating. As spasms are not always present in IBS, the term spastic colon is not accurate in all cases.


There are many symptoms of this disorder. An affected person may suffer from painful cramps during bowel movements as well as frequent and strong urges to defecate, even immediately after doing so. There may be mucus in the feces, and a person may alternate between being constipated and having diarrhea. Frequent diarrhea can also lead to dehydration. Other symptoms include fatigue and weight loss.

If a person has had stomach pain and either constant diarrhea or constipation for several months, a medical professional will usually test a blood or a stool sample to rule out other potential causes, like parasitic infections or cancer. He or she will also take a medical history to check for any risk factors, such as a recent viral stomach illness or the use of antibiotics. In certain circumstances, a colonoscopy may be ordered.


Many cases of spastic colon have no known cause. Occasionally, a viral illness can cause similar symptoms, but these usually resolve themselves in three to six months. Parasitic infections can also mimic the symptoms of spastic colon, producing what appears to be IBS with diarrhea. Taking antibiotics may cause an imbalance in the beneficial bacteria of the stomach and intestinal tract, but this typically corrects itself within a few months. Stress and poor diet may also contribute to the development of spastic colon, but generally, only in those with pre-existing IBS.

Managing IBS

People with spastic colon may be able to reduce their risk of flare-ups by changing a few behaviors. Medical professionals usually ask people to eat a diet high in fiber, as this can help normalize the bowel process, even in those with significant diarrhea. Most recommend not smoking, eliminating alcohol, and not eating foods with lots of sugar or fat, which can produce diarrhea. Additionally, people with spastic colon are generally told to eat a probiotic diet that contains active yeast cultures, which may help restore balance in the bowel.

There is no cure for this condition, but there are some medications that can treat the symptoms. Some medical professionals suggest laxatives to reduce episodes of constipation and an anti-diarrheal medicine for diarrhea. They may also prescribe sedatives, tranquilizers, or antidepressants, since stress can be a trigger for this condition. Dicyclomine, an antispasmodic medicine, is often prescribed to relieve the pain of stomach cramps. Heating pads, hot baths, and other warm, relaxing treatments can also be soothing.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon992929 — On Oct 12, 2015

Spastic colon leaves me with the type of cramping one sees after taking a strong laxative, or having crampy diarrhea. It is different than the type of "irritable bowel", that can be associated with massive abdominal bloating. That is what my wife experiences (looks like she is 7 months pregnant!). Then there are all of the in-between symptoms, when the syndrome expresses itself, differently. That happens because we are not, no not one of us, the same! In reality, IBS is likely a group of similar syndromes, lumped into one category. They have never been appropriately, and adequately, described. Maybe it is because half of the doctors say "it is all in your head"! Sadly, they are partially right. Their lack of understanding of psychosomatic illness results in such stupidity! The brain affects our body in many ways through the brain body connection. The overactive nerve supply, in, and to the gut, is likely the biggest cause. Stress has a "somatic" affect, meaning our bodies have physical symptoms that we cannot control, caused by psychologically (the "psycho" part) controlled mechanisms. Being a general surgeon/pain management doctor, as I am, is of no advantage when the cramping starts!

By anon336156 — On May 26, 2013

Very clear site and the good explanations were helpful. Can irritable colon be because of swallowed gum because it remains the in body for many years and when the food reaches the gum, absorbed partly in colon, it causes gas and irritability or it can be wounds in the colon too?

By anon335812 — On May 23, 2013

This sounds so familiar. I lived with these symptoms for 30 years. I decided to go on a gluten free diet just to see if that helped. Oh, my gosh, I am a new person. I have been symptom free for two years now. Some of you may have the same problem.

By anon334788 — On May 15, 2013

It is not worth living with IBS. One is better off dead than not being to do normal things, meet friends, etc.

By anon256093 — On Mar 20, 2012

I have had really bad bloating for over three years now. I have a terrible dull ache in the upper part because my tummy is so swollen. I cannot even vacuum or do any general task without having to rest afterwards for an hour or so, lying flat. It feels like my tummy is being strangled and that something's going to burst.

I couldn't go on any longer with this awful bloating and dull ache, so I today had a double whammy of endoscopy and colonoscopy, and it turns out that my stomach lining is very inflamed (gastritis) which can be treated with Lansoprazole or whatever the doctor may prescribe. This may then ease the IBS, which is causing the bloating. My bowel was fine when checked.

I suffered months, even years, suffering with what I thought could even have been cancer, worrying unnecessarily, probably making my condition worse. Get to your GP and get these tests done. Worry will only make things seems much worse.

By anon249996 — On Feb 23, 2012

I have been dealing with IBS now for several years. I have cramps, bloating, constipation, and acid reflux almost every day. I have found, believe it or not, that taking an enema once every three to four weeks relieves most of the symptoms of IBS for me.

I actually stumbled on this discovery, as I was trying anything I could think of to help myself. The effects of the clean out from the enema last several weeks, and then my symptoms return, so that's why the cycle. Anyway, good luck to anyone who might have IBS, and I hope this "remedy" helps someone.

By anon249412 — On Feb 20, 2012

My little brother, age seven, suffers from occasional diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, body aches, and fatigue. None come about on a regular schedule, just spontaneously. Milk, as well as ice cream, American cheese, etc., all seem to trigger an upset stomach. He has been to doctors and we haven't gotten an answer. Please help. I hate to see my little brother in pain like this. God bless you!

By anon243229 — On Jan 26, 2012

What a horrible condition it is to be diagnosed with and to have to live with IBS. Literally, there is no emotional or physical way that you can get around it most of the time. I experienced GI tract problems and symptoms since I was a kid, and then was officially diagnosed after testing in 1987.

Problem is, I also suffer from diverticulosis, as well as recurring abdominal adhesion small bowel obstruction episodes and related surgeries. It can be a nightmare, not always knowing where the pain is coming from, when to feel safe to ignore it, unknowing as to what will happen. It literally stops your life, and takes you out of your reality for periods of a time -- social life, family relationships, employment, life plans -- it's horrible.

Dicyclomine has largely been an antispasmodic miracle drug for me, in the past several years. To combat acid reflux, I take Protonix. Believe it or not, also Zoloft, but not for antidepressant reasons, as I do not suffer from depression: but for an aid with facilitating my bowel movements, since I have IBS-C (constipation predominant). Since most of the body's serotonin is located in the lining of the intestinal tract, Zoloft each day helps "get me going" especially in the morning.

I want to emphasize that anybody with such GI symptoms needs to be tested, because you want to rule out other or comorbid problems that may be manifesting themselves as symptoms perceived to be IBS. The condition can wax and wane. But you want to rule out having something else for which different meds or procedures could help you, or which need more immediate life-threatening attention or treatment.

As for non-medical treatments: I swear by decaffeinated peppermint tea, gentle stretching/yoga, positive meditation and breathing, daily journal entries, clothes-adhesive/hidden "BodiHeat" peel-off heating pads over the abdominal area, plenty of rest and fiber if even in the form of a glass of tasty orange Metamucil in water each morning, and even things like aromatherapy with vanilla-scented wall plug-ins. Anything to help you to take islands of "mini-vacations" from stress not a couple of weeks one season annually, but every so often during each day in your routines and lives.

Thanks for sharing here, and helping me, too, not to feel so alone about this!

By anon231910 — On Nov 27, 2011

I am a 38 year old female with three children. I am relatively healthy. I don't do drugs, don't smoke, and occasionally I will have a drink or two. I exercise and walk. But for a full week I have been having extreme cramps and stomach aches which result in excessive diarrhea and bowel movements. I'm not sure what to do but I need to resume my life.

By anon230399 — On Nov 19, 2011

103329: Please post the list you have/spoke of. Many thanks. I have been battling this two weeks out of every month. I appreciate you sharing. Blessings.

By anon178890 — On May 22, 2011

I am a 29 year old male. i work a physically demanding job, on a machine that must be run my entire shift. When I have to stop to get on my knees and hod my stomach until the pain passes, I get looks from the boss and coworkers.

I remember walking to school doing the same thing: turn around, head home and wait -- it went away, now it's back. I feel like my girlfriend will be disgusted by this. I avoid activities all the time. I was barium tested when i was young, but no results. I wasn't even diagnosed with IBS.

I got vicodin from my dentist, and it solved all of my pain, and stomach problems! I know narcotics are a last resort, especially when they won't give them out for this illness, but without them, my life is a mess. I have no energy, am always feeling weak and sickly, so I'm doing what I have to. The bills need to be paid and life's too short to live like I was any longer. Now I am stuck either using vicodin or percocet, or suffering from my old symptoms, plus withdrawal from the vicodin. What a mess.

By anon173415 — On May 07, 2011

I have suffered with Spastic Colon since the age of 19 when I met my first husband. I am now 60 and still suffer. To begin with it was infrequent, but as my marriage was traumatic and my husband violent it got worse and worse over the years. Towards the end of my marriage, which lasted incredibly 17 years, I was having serious pain at least four times a week. I knew that every time we went out to eat it would hit me before the meal was over.

My husband was really unsympathetic and never believed I was in pain. This, of course, made it worse. I tried acupuncture, hypnotherapy, gave up alcohol, drank lots of water, had a high fiber diet, tried various things the doctor gave me and exercised every day. All to no avail. Then I had the courage to take my two children and leave my husband. The symptoms immediately lessened until I was just suffering once a month when I had my period.

After the menopause, the pain completely disappeared. I set up my own engineering business and the worry of that caused the symptoms to begin again, but very infrequently, maybe once every couple of months. Having married again three years ago, I find that if I row with my husband the pain comes back the next morning. Eating really aggravates it. It is certainly only stress with me.

I think the only cure is to lead a stress free life, which in this day and age is impossible. I sympathize with everyone who feels this pain is ruining their lives. Do yoga or tai chi or body balance and get a relaxation tape. It does help.

By anon173384 — On May 07, 2011

A 25 year old, healthy, fit male here. I have had IBS-like symptoms for many years. I have taken antibiotics before, most recently last year of a stomach infection while traveling, but IBS-like symptoms occurred long before this, although antibiotics made diarrhea much worse.

For the last two years or so, I usually have to go to bathroom four to six times a day, each time is about 15-20 minutes, especially when I wake up and after eating almost always. I don't have any pain though, so I'm not sure if it's actually IBS or spastic colon. My doc said no pain equals no IBS and he didn't do anything for me.

Several foods are trigger foods, especially fatty foods, seeds, oats, apples, alcohol (terrible spasms after drinking) sweets, milk etc. but sometimes it seems like just about any meal can cause a bowel spasm (even a healthy chicken salad!).

It has been recommended to me to take Benefiber and use hyoscyamine but am not sure if I want to try it. Going to work is difficult because I usually have to use bathroom every two hours. Trying to do a wheat-free, dairy free diet as well but it is difficult and I am not sure if it is working. Any advice if this is IBS or not please! Thank you.

By anon165853 — On Apr 06, 2011

To the poster 48 who said "sounds like most of you don't take care of your bodies, and are paying the price".

This is a lifelong issue. Some people just have different "wiring" to their gut and it causes these symptoms when there is increased stress in their lives, good or bad. I was diagnosed as a child. I eat high fiber, I walk one hour every day a a good pace and I maintain a good weight.

By anon161138 — On Mar 18, 2011

I am a 52 year old female and was diagnosed with a spastic colon when I was 8-9 years old. I have suffered over the years, not understanding what I had is IBS. I had open gastric bypass 10 years ago and the doctor also removed my gallbladder at the same time. I have reduced kidney function and suffer with low potassium.

In 2009, I was so sick with IBS that I passed out, double dislocating my jaw, which in turn, sent me to the hospital via ambulance. My family thought I had had a stroke. I did not know at the time it was my IBS. It was thought that I just had a severe stomach virus.

Since that date, I have had four more episodes (one resulting in shingles), the last one (just this last month) going to the hospital by ambulance again. By the time the doctors were able to give me meds to stop the nausea and colon spasms, I had been in pain for 15 hours at a 10 on the pain scale.

Stress is the biggest offender in my life and I am working with a great counselor to help find ways of dealing with my stress. I also struggle with what to eat and not eat because every issue I seem to have, has a different diet plan. Help! Is there anyone else who winds up in the ER like I have? I need help and don't really know which way to go.

By anon146793 — On Jan 27, 2011

anon103329: Would you please post the list of safe foods as I have had this problem for many years.

Thanks in advance. --Alley

By anon136530 — On Dec 22, 2010

sounds like most of you don't take care of your bodies, and are paying the price.

By anon135202 — On Dec 17, 2010

i am 29 years old, and reading all of these same symptoms that others have, it is actually a relief to know other people are suffering from the same thing i am. The worst thing is the sharp pain in my left side under my last rib, Hurts every day!

i always back out of everyday or weekend activities because of my guts. I always feel like i have to go, especially in the A.M! It is so annoying. cramps, gas, bloating -- well, add anxiety to the list too.

I am always invited out to lunch but always come up with an excuse not to go, because every time i eat i feel sharp pains and i literally have to go within 10 minutes after eating! Anyhow I would love to find out what i can do for these horrible pains I'm having. I'm 6'3 200lbs in shape, i don't need these problems. Please help!

By anon130127 — On Nov 27, 2010

Wow, I'm amazed that there are so many people out there who are suffering with the same/similar problem as me. I'm 31 but have been suffering with IBS since 16. The older I get, the worse it gets.

I'm at the stage now where I have to go to the loo immediately after a meal about 60 percent of the time so now I'm afraid to eat out. I have extremely excessive gas and recently I can't even control it. The bloating is constant for me 24/7. The excruciating stomach cramps and diarrhea are becoming more and more painful and happening more often.

I go to the loo three to four times on a 'normal day'. On a bad day it can range between 14 to 18 times. Oh and recently I find blood in my stool after a drinking session so I probably have to give up alcohol now.

Acid reflux and heartburn are also a problem. I am passionate about food and own a restaurant but I don't enjoy eating anymore because of the way I feel after every meal.

In the last 10 years I've been for every medical test possible, from barium to 24hr PH to colonoscopy and they can't find what's wrong. It really is the most embarrassing, painful and hopeless illness to have.

By anon129062 — On Nov 22, 2010

First and most important, drink a lot of water every day-- at least four pints a day.

Secondly, try to manage all your stressful situations by either solving them or getting rid of them. It is very important to boost up your self-esteem.

Third, walk, jog or exercise on a daily basis.

Fourth, cut down fatty and fried foods and have a normal diet which includes green vegetables regularly.

Last, don't do drugs, alcohol or smoke. Relax, have fun and enjoy life.

By anon124552 — On Nov 06, 2010

I suffered my first attack when my dad passed away suddenly when I was 15. I have dealt with it since. Any situation that I'm not familiar with can trigger an episode. Traveling long distances in the morning triggers it. It has prevented me from enjoying my life and leaves me feeling crazy wishing I was like other people.

I'm about to start a job I've wanted for four years that requires me to travel over an hour each morning for 10 weeks an hour and a half away. Just thinking about it has me up in arms. How will I handle sitting through these classes, knowing that at any time I can have an anxious trigger?

I was released from jury duty once because I felt boxed in and went into a full blown anxiety attack. Please, anyone else deal with this?

By anon119574 — On Oct 18, 2010

anon114108: I want to respond to your post. when i have these attacks I feel real hot on my upper body and especially my face. Then I start breathing hard like you said happened to you. I think the severe pain makes you breathe hard. I also sweat terribly and feel real weak.

By anon119563 — On Oct 18, 2010

I have had severe problems (gas diarrhea, bloating, constipation). I've had horrible sleepless nights so uncomfortable because of how much gas was inside of my intestines. Of course all of this lends to acid reflux.

I went on a dairy free, gluten free diet for a year. This did not work. Then I stopped eating meat and that has helped, but not completely.

I have read "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" (Elaine Gottschall) and am starting it today. I hope it works. When I was younger I was Barium tested and this did not show anything abnormal. I have not lost weight or gained weight but I feel that I am heavier than I would be if I didn't have these problems.

The SCD diet is based on the most easily digestible foods based on their molecular structure (monosaccharides vs. dior poly- saccharides). I'm hoping for the best. These bowel issues have really affected my life in a negative way. On those days when you have an attack as you all know it doesn't just last that day, it's 48-72 hours.

It stinks. You can't run or exercise you don't want to leave the house or see anyone. I'm 29 and I was tested with Barium when I was eight. Good luck to everyone and never give up trying new things (diet, diet, diet) to help yourself from suffering. I'm suffering right now but hopefully it will end soon.

By anon119389 — On Oct 17, 2010

I am 41 and out of no where developed spastic colon. The Dr. could actually hear it. My pain is on the left lower pelvic region. The pain is tremendous after a night of drinking. Even when I don't drink I'm not sure what causes a flare up. I am not on any prescription meds yet and hope to never be and work through the pain. I have horrible gas, bloating and will sometimes be 5-7 pounds heavier and within a few days those pounds disappear. Best wishes to my bloated friends.

By anon114108 — On Sep 27, 2010

I just finished reading all the messages about ibs or spastic colon. I was wondering does anyone have trouble with their breathing while having an attack? (I also have COPD disease) but, when my stomach is cramping, it seems as if my breathing is a little worse. I also have trouble standing for too long. Am I crazy or does anyone else have any of these problems too? I hope someone replies to my letter.

By anon111665 — On Sep 17, 2010

I am 59 and have been suffering "colon cramps" for 50 years. When I was about 10 yrs old they did all kinds of tests and found nothing (of course). When I was a kid I had them almost regularly every sic months or so. From about age 40-50 I thought they had gone away but they are now coming back.

The symptoms are always the same: dull pain in the lower left quadrant (definitely colon); growing to severe pain then vomiting (which releases the cramps eventually). This process lasts about six to eight hours.

I have learned how to stop the process most of the time. I need to do mental/physical relaxation techniques. I need smooth muscle relaxers. When I was a kid they gave me belladonna, which was very good at relaxing the colon.

Later I learned that strong antihistamines also worked (pseudoephedrine -- specifically Comtrex). But now it's not so easy to get pseudoephedrine.

Tylenol PM also can work if you don't need to be active.

I've always known this was correlated with stress. Oddly, as an adult, the most common trigger is a nightmare (causing unconscious stress).

By anon108918 — On Sep 04, 2010

I have suffered pain for more than three years now. the pain in my pelvic area or lower abdomen sometimes in my right side near the hip right side is annoying.

i don't know how to fix this. i already had a test for cancer with a barium enema but no result. I also have gas and bloating. I am scared.

The pain is not every day, but I have this pain 10 days every month then it goes away. also, during the day I had pain like at three hour intervals. I'm worried it might be serious.

By anon107857 — On Aug 31, 2010

I've been drinking Kefir for about three months now with surprisingly good results. I thought I had this licked but suffered another attack this morning. I did have a stressful day but how do you deal with it? I don't really want to live on tranquilizers.

By anon103329 — On Aug 11, 2010

I just turned 61 and have been experiencing IBS for the past nine years after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had been to several doctors and finally three years ago, stumbled on to one who gave me a list of foods which trigger IBS and those that are safe.

I was shocked at the "trigger list" because it contains all those foods that we've all been told are so good for us. One thing I had to learn was the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber and how that affects the colon.

I've been following the food list religiously and had been getting along great until I began having anxiety attacks three weeks ago, and then the IBS kicked in again.

I went through a series of tests and everything came back good so the doctor prescribed Lexapro two days ago and we are hoping this settles everything down. I can sympathize with those here who have been going through bouts of IBS/spastic colon. It's very painful, debilitating and literally interferes with one's daily life as well of those around us.

I hope all of you will find a solution to your particular situation. For me, stress is the culprit. I've always been a nervous person and it finally caught up with me. For anyone who would like the food list I would be more than glad post the list here if asked.

By anon99399 — On Jul 26, 2010

I've been looking for symptoms that match my own. Only five or six episodes in my life and, now at 50, they are becoming more frequent. The pain is lower pelvic, certainly bowel, wrenching cramps, voluminous diarrhea, accompanied by profuse sweating, dizziness, and on three occasions, loss of consciousness.

It's very frightening and always occurs in the morning at the time of a first bowel movement. I'm very fit, and perfectly regular outside of these episodes. Just in case there is someone else out there experiencing this. My doctor's appointment is two days away and this started when I was in my twenties.

By anon90009 — On Jun 14, 2010

I've been experiencing the pain for about to weeks now and I'm only 20. It's on the left side of my lower abdomen and usually only goes away for very little bits of time after I pass gas or stool, which feels like it's coming out so very slowly.

I've been to the emergency room and they did a cat scan and said they didn't see anything wrong. It all started just two weeks ago. should I be worried about colon cancer with the symptoms just abruptly starting out of nowhere? Or should I trust the er with the ibs diagnosis? Can it just start out of nowhere?

I have to admit I've had a pretty bad diet for a while now, (fast food every night, bed not until 4 or 5, etc.). I'm just very scared and confused.

By anon87713 — On Jun 01, 2010

Lately, ever since I was age 33, I've been having constant stomach problems. I cycle between having diarrhea and constipation, it's terrible when my stomach's constantly churning like that. The worst part is the bloating and the gas, and the smell can be absolutely horrible at times. Actually, the worst part is those days when I'm constipated and I have major gas. Then it's just downright uncomfortable and I don't even feel like doing anything.

Another downside is having to spend 15-20 minutes in the bathroom taking what feels like an intense dump on a daily basis. It makes me feel self-conscious if anybody at work notices that I'm gone for that duration of time, as if I'm goofing off, whereas I'm actually suffering in the bathroom.

There are, however, magical weeks where everything is behaving normally. The difficulty is trying to find out what particular alignment of the planets and other variables that lead to that great week.

I believe that part of the solution has to do with eating consistent meals each day that incorporate a good amount of fiber, something wet but with structure in the form of oranges.

The hard part is getting myself to eat them consistently every day. That, at the very least, helps to cancel out bouts of constipation.

I just read that maybe yogurt (a probiotic) may help, though again, I find it hard to stick to a consistent regimen.

I do notice that skipping meals does horrors to my stomach, so that's why consistency in meals is really important, along with avoiding the usual culprits for tummy problems like very spicy foods and beans of any sort.

By anon76191 — On Apr 09, 2010

I have had these since I was 10 years old. i am 46 now. My wife told me what labor contractions feel like and i can tell you it feels like she described labor. All i can do is fold over and bear it the cramp is so strong!

In the stomach usually before a bowel movement i can have this and I have learned a good diet and fiber less stress will help. I have made one every month or two now.

Strong stomach muscles help more than anything.

By anon69609 — On Mar 09, 2010

I'm getting checked out by a gastro right now, to see if I have IBS. I did do a 10 day liquid fasting called the lemon cleanse,or Master cleanse, and it helped out so much. I totally recommend it. You can research it to get the recipe and info. Good luck to all.

By anon66540 — On Feb 20, 2010

For everyone here writing about pain in their left abdomen area, left of the bellybutton. I too had that pain, and after having surgery noticed the pain was more prominent.

I insisted that, while still under the doctor's care, they would find the culprit. The doctor ordered a colonoscopy and found polyps. He biopsied them, but would not remove them. They were non cancerous, but the pain, and attacks of ibs still haunt me.

I find that the food I eat does not trigger episodes. The only trigger I have found has been stress, and alcohol sometimes. The bouts of ibs have gotten more severe, preceding things like a job interview etc.

I wish we all had answers, I can't possibly believe eating raw vegetables would make it worse. The doctors are all about treating with drugs; that's where they all make their money.

By anon64264 — On Feb 06, 2010

i can't lose weight since being diagnosed with spastic colon and wheat and yeast intolerance. Has anyone else had these problems?

By anon62854 — On Jan 28, 2010

I'm 14, and a couple months ago, I just developed a load of IBS-type symptoms. I'm always feeling excessively tired, I have diarrhea and constipation (double whammy), bloating, wind, urgency to use the toilet after eating, nausea though I think that's from the pain of the stomach cramps I've been having like crazy, headaches and I've lost 20 pounds, though I haven't changed my diet at all. Do you guys think I have IBS?

I really, really can't talk to anyone about it, because I find it so embarrassing. Is there anything I can do to stop these symptoms? School has become a living hell, and pain medicines aren't really working. Help?

By anon61216 — On Jan 19, 2010

I am so sorry to hear about what you guys are going through and that some are on anti depressants as well.

I am a 32 year old and suffered from IBS or spastic colon for most of my life with severe constipation. I have been admitted to hospitals on several occasions but nothing worked.

A year ago i made a lifestyle change as my job was highly stressful and this is a major contributing factor.

I have become very sensitive to what i put in my body. I refrained from all saturated fatty foods, excluded wheat from my diet, eat plenty of fruits and veggies raw where possible. Yoga has been the best form of exercise for me and trust me, if you're suffering from constipation, the yoga stretches are amazing to get things going.

I am now an alternative practitioner and i would suggest finding an alternative practitioner in your area.

Illness is usually an imbalance in the body and there are several alternate therapies that help with unblocking any imbalances and bringing the body back to balance. Remember natural therapies are non-invasive and will help the body to strengthen itself.

Here are a list of a few alternative treatments that have helped me: Detox; massage as it helps the body to unwind and relax; body talk; reflexology; herbalism; instead of using laxatives on a daily basis, eat an apple with the skin and drink lots of water.

Have some water before going to bed and first thing in the morning.

Refrain from eating late and heavy meals at night.

If you are having red meat, don't have it every night. Try two nights a month and have it at 5 p.m. at the latest so that you have enough time to walk it down.

I hope this info will help somebody.

Remember: manage your stress, switch off and we do not have the power to control everything in life.

By anon48857 — On Oct 15, 2009

I've had mild stomach pain for the last six weeks. Generally it's on the left side of my abdomen, right below my last rib, and along my left side, about four inches directly left from from my navel. A dull ache, sometimes feels like mild cramping and sometimes I have cramp-like pains right below my sternum. No loss in appetite, no weight loss, no nausea, no constipation, no diarhea, no tiredness, no fever, no other pains. Other than these near-constant stomach pains I'm a healthy 32 year-old male who works out most days and recently completed a triathlon. Doc did a blood test and showed no change in blood levels that may indicate cancer but I'm still considering a CT scan. Both my mother and grandmother have IBS. I'm wondering if it's possible for an IBS sufferer to just have mild stomach pains with no other symptoms. I'm leaning towards having a CT scan but I don't like the costs (even with my insurance) or a possibly unnecessary dose of radiation.

By angelic666 — On Oct 06, 2009

i'm 21 years old and have been having problems for about a year now. The pain is awful and horrific. i can't ever seem to be "not hurting." i've tried everything, eating better, taking 9 different medicines a day and still nothing. sometimes after i eat, the pain is so bad i just kneel over in pain. i've even now started to gag after i eat and when i see the sight of food. it scares my husband to know how much pain i'm in and he can't do nothing about it. sometimes i just cry myself to sleep with the feelings i have in my stomach. it hurts so much around and under my ribs and even my heart. i have acid reflux too and that doesn't help any, either. i don't know how much more of this i can take. i walk, i hurt, i sit, i hurt, seems like i can't do anything. i've tried to go on the diet my doctor put me on but i'm allergic to so much, i'd only be eating a piece of bread a day. i wish i knew what to do. if anybody has any info for me please share. and to everyone else with this problem too i hope you all can solve it before you turn out like me. thank you

By anon45578 — On Sep 18, 2009

I can totally relate to anon40302 and anon44196 -- to everyone, in fact. I was fine up until five years ago and then I literally woke up one day with stomach pains that not only never went away but got worse day by day. I've been to sevreal doctors and have had every test done that they could think of and still no one can seem to find anything wrong. So then they started prescribing me mental medication. I don't think I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome either. I have lost no weight. In fact, I'm the biggest I've ever been in my life. I sometimes feel some kind of movement in my bowels, my back and my anus when I have to use the bathroom. I am so scared. I think it has something to do with my heart because it hurts to sometimes when I have to go. I'm truly sorry for everyone's illness and pain but it's really comforting to know that there are other people out there with the same stomach problems I have so now I don't feel like I'm going crazy like every doctor I've been to was trying to tell me.

By anon44196 — On Sep 05, 2009

I have started having constant stomach pains and one to three bowel movements a day for about two months now and I have lost over 20 pounds since I have no appetite from all the hurting. I have had ultrasound, hida scan, ct scan and MRi and blood work. Doctors have not found anything abnormal except an enlarged hepatic duct. The doctors keep saying it may just be irritable bowel syndrome. But I do not believe that it is irritable bowel syndrome since the pain is constant and it not relieved by a bowel movement. I feel so hopeless because I cannot imagine having to live with this kind of pain for the rest of my life and the doctors have not come up with a diagnosis that is treatable. I truly believe that it is treatable because two months ago I was perfectly healthy! Please help if there is anyone out there who has had the same problem!

By anon40499 — On Aug 09, 2009

I have lived with IBS or spastic colon for over 30 years now. I too was on Librax for many years. All that does is keep down the anxiety that sufferers have on a daily basis. I guess Zanax or meds like that would today be the prescribed meds. I however, have lived with the bowel issues. I noticed that when I was thinner it was not as bad. Lose weight. I am now diabetic, so that I sure contributes some to the anxiety and then there comes the attack. Over the last year and half it has been constant. I have gained weight from being depressed. I am depressed because I lost my job in a down size move, my husband suffered another heart attack and is now on hospice and considered terminal. I attend college online and my classes have gone well until this last block and I stress out daily about them. In a nut shell, no money, no financial security, soon to be a widow, 55 years old. I am tired too. all this causes IBS.

By anon40302 — On Aug 07, 2009

I have had a spastic colon for about 15 years and have been on Librax for that amount of time. I do not have a problem with constipation or diarrhea but have terrible gas and pain under my ribs (both sides.) I am so uncomfortable all the time. Right now my doctor is taking me off Librax which will take 6 months. Does anybody have the same problem and what can I do?

By anon38797 — On Jul 28, 2009

I have been told by many doctors that i have spastic colon. i never knew that a spastic colon is the same as ibs. i also suffer with gastritis. whenever i have an attack of either it feels like a volcano erupted inside of me. i am just getting over another bout. the doctor prescribed dicyclomine which seems to help but not cure.

By anon36931 — On Jul 15, 2009

i started getting really bad stomach aches and loose stools about 7 months ago. i am in pain almost all the time, and feel bloated everyday. the boatedness doesn't ever go, and i am now unable to wear the vest tops that i once did. i suffered from a spastic colon when i was younger which seemed to go away..now, along with ibs the spastic colon is back. i find at times that it is really debilitating. its extremly uncomfortable weather its due to constipation or loose stools. i was given buscopan to help relieve symptoms but have stopped taking them because they did nothing. my periods have become unbearable. soo painful its unreal, tired all the time and just wiped out. i don't know if this is linked or not? i feel that i can't cope with this at times and just wish the doctors would do something to help me.

By anon27832 — On Mar 06, 2009

have any of you read "Breaking The Viscous Cycle"?

this dietary approach is a miracle. it absolutely works if you follow it exactly. There is a website of the same name. It worked for me and for *many* others.

By anon25981 — On Feb 06, 2009

i recently had stomach pains but not too intense. more of a dull ache on my left side of my abdomen. what i realized was that as soon as i eat, my abdomen will swell moving along down my lower abdomen. i have never had this problem but i do go off normal in the morning. its very confusing as well.. i was only given a fiber drink and was told i have a swollen colon... any ideas as to resolving this ???

By hassellmark — On Jan 18, 2009

hi i've had ibs for 8 years i always remembered my first attack thought i was going to die, i'd been put on colfac since with not many attacks, normally they come and go, but 5am xmas day morning i was awoken " not by santa " but sharp colon pain took colfac didn't want to go, so ended up at doctors been told to increase tablets, went back last friday having blood tests goto wait week, on different pills no joy atm, i'm scared as never had constant dull pain in colon like this long, anyone else have constant pain ? mark uk

By anon22681 — On Dec 08, 2008

I just spent a long weekend in the hospital (Dec 08) with what was diagnosed as spastic colon. My symptoms are always the same but with varying degrees of intensity: Usually after a meal I begin to have an awareness of my stomach (and each time I think I just have to go to the bathroom). Then over the next several hours the pain gradually increases, but it rises and falls in intensity until the pain is so horrific I eventually begin to vomit. When I am throwing up it is so very violent I honestly believe there is a demon in my stomach.

During this particular episode I went to the emergency room and allowed them to witness the excruciating pain I was experiencing - morphine definitely helps during this phase of the episode. Funny thing about going to the ER, they performed a gall bladder scan and discovered I had a stone - "that must be her problem" and they stop looking.

Fortunately for me I had been working with a gastrointernologist who didn't think my symptoms were related to my gall bladder (which I am adament about keeping for reasons not to be explained here). I requested to be checked into the hospital and my Dr. notified - which is what happened.

After several tests (ultrasound, scope down the throat, CT scan, HIDA scan, many blood tests, and finally a colonoscopy) the Dr. was more convinced that it's not my gall bladder causing me this problem. He has diagnosed me with spastic colon, or IBS.

Now, what frightens me is everything I read isn't giving me a good feeling about the long term recovery. Through every attempt to correct my diet I still might have another attack.

This is so messed up.

I hope my experience helps at least one other person to keep their gall bladder or any other organ that Drs. think is unnecessary.

By mrose1153 — On Nov 20, 2008

Can you lose weight with spastic colon?

By mrose1153 — On Nov 20, 2008

Did you folks lose weight with constipation and IBS


By mrose1153 — On Nov 20, 2008

I am 28 year old male severe abdominal pain left side, severe constipation for 2 weeks had 2 cat scans and blood work and xray. The er told me I had spastic colon. I have lost 20 lbs last couple months. Would cat scans and x-rays show colon cancer? Can't get in to see gastro dr till 18th of Dec.

By anon21289 — On Nov 13, 2008

I know someone that had the same problem with passing out the pain was very bad. He ended up being allergic to whey this took some time to figure out. You should be tested for this they can do it by taking a sample from your intestine.I did read that there is a blood test they can do because this is thought to be genetic.

By anon17675 — On Sep 04, 2008

you should have your stomach checked,the scope in your mouth is non painful,you are sedated and never know it happened.i have had colon problems for 10 years now,and recently developed gastritis,which is when your stomach lining is infected or starting to dissolve,it can cause pain like yours,no appetite,and very loose stools. hope this has been helpful.

By anon5906 — On Dec 10, 2007

I too suffer from ibs and have similar symptoms but I never passed out. Maybe there is something else going on here. I think you do indeed need to have a colonoscopy, I had one and it was fine. See your doc ASAP

By anon5599 — On Dec 01, 2007

Hi, I have suffered from IBS (severe diarrhea after eating a meal) then recently I had a severe stomach pain that was so painful, I passed out for about 5 or 6 minutes. I was able to call 9-1-1 and they came and took me to the hospital. The doctors there said it was just a stomach ache. I had a CT scan and they found nothing wrong. So they said it was mostly an anxiety attack. Which I know it wasn't, but I was put on a liquid diet for 2 days anyway then a bland diet for 2 weeks, I am now eating normally after taking several medications in which some helped, i.e. Poly Ethylene Glycol and stool softeners, and Milk of Mag. My stomach finally settled down after about 2 weeks and am feeling better. My question is, was this a spastic colon attack or something else and could it happen again? I since been able to go to the bathroom fairly normally, but worry now as I live alone and don't want this to happen again. The paramedics came just as I was coming to again and they said it was a TIA and I thought it was a heart attack, it hurt so bad. I have to have a colonoscopy soon and also have a heart murmur. Thanks

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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