IRRITABLE COLON (Spastic Colitis; Mucous Colitis; Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
IRRITABLE COLON (Spastic Colitis;
Mucous Colitis; Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
DESCRIPTIONSpastic colon is an irritative and inflammatory disorder of both the small and large intestine. It is not contagious, inherited, or cancerous. This condition usually affects older adolescents or young adults. Appropriate health care includes: self-care after diagnosis; physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSCramp-like pain in the middle or to one side of the lower abdomen. Pain is usually relieved with bowel movements.
Bloating and gas.
Occasional loss of appetite that may lead to weight loss.
Diarrhea or constipation, usually alternating.
Difficulty in concentrating.
The following symptoms usually begin in early adult life. Episodes may last for days, weeks, or months.
CAUSESStress and emotional conflict resulting in your child feeling anxious or depressed.Situations that often precede an attack include:
-- Obsessive worry about everyday problems.
-- Marital tension.
-- Fear of loss of a beloved person or object.
-- Death of a loved one.
Symptoms may also be triggered by eating, though no specific food has been identified as responsible.
Stress; improper diet; fatigue or overwork; poor physical fitness; smoking; excess alcohol consumption; use of drugs.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should try to reduce stress or modify the response to it.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, including stool studies, to exclude other disorders such as lactose intolerance, ulcers, parasites, enzyme deficiency, and ulcerative colitis.
X-ray of the colon (barium enema).
Poor nutrition caused by malabsorption.
Psychological fixation on bowel function, leading to neurosis.
Increased risk of colon cancer later in life.
Curable if the underlying causes can be eliminated or modified. If not, your child's symptoms can be controlled with treatment.
HOME CAREMedication, diet changes, and adequate rest can help, but the cure is more dependant on defining, confronting, and solving conflicts in the child's day-to-day living. See Appendix 19 (How to Help Your Child Cope with Stress and Psychosomatic Illness).
MEDICATIONAntispasmodics to relieve the child's severe abdominal cramps.
Tranquilizers to reduce anxiety.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Medication may help your child, but it will not cure this disorder. Your doctor may prescribe:
No restrictions. Good physical fitness improves bowel function.
DIET & FLUIDSIncrease fiber in the child's diet to promote good bowel function. See Appendix 24 (Well-Balanced Diet).
Your child should not eat foods that aggravate symptoms.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when condition and sense of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child develops a fever.
Your child's stool is black or tarry-looking.
Your child begins vomiting.
An unexplained weight loss of 5 pounds or more occurs.
Your child's symptoms don't improve despite treatment.