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Spastic colon: What does it mean?

Medically reviewed on March 29, 2017

Spastic colon is another term for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common disorder characterized by abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

The term "spastic colon" describes the increase in spontaneous contractions (motility) of muscles in the small and large intestines associated with IBS. These contractions are sometimes called spasms. However, because IBS may also be associated with decreased motility, the term "spastic colon" isn't always accurate.

The cause and severity of IBS varies from person to person. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and may include changing your diet, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and taking anticholinergic or anti-diarrheal medications.

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