It is a common complaint among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Pain is a component of several indices of disease activity, and is a major concern for patients.
Pain is a common reason for poor quality of life that is often seen in patients with diseases of the colon or IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases).
Also, uncontrollable aspects of pain are associated with deep anxiety. This anxiety can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms that make pain even more difficult to manage.
So, in summary, pain in the colon is described as a sudden and severe contraction and usually occurs as a result of an underlying health condition.
Basic anatomy of the colon
The colon is a one meter long muscular tube that is a part of the large intestine within the gastrointestinal system, responsible for absorbing water and salt from food. The colon also serves as a storage place for waste.
The colon is segmented into four parts:
The first segment is called the ascending colon.
It begins with a small pouch (the cecum) where the small intestine joins the colon and extends into the upper right area of the abdomen. The cecum is also where the appendix joins the colon.
The second segment is called the transverse colon.
This part goes through the body from the right side to the left side in the upper abdomen.
The third segment is called the descending colon.
This is facing down on the left side.
The fourth and last segment is known as the sigmoid colon.
This segment is called this way because of its “S” or “sigmoid” shape.
Many diseases can be associated with colon pain, including malabsorption, chronic inflammation, and cancer, so good health and a general diet, as well as detection of colon diseases, are important.
Symptoms of pain in the colon
Symptoms of colon disorders generally include:
- Abdominal pain.
- Constipation .
- Cramps or spasms
What Causes Colon Pain?
The colon is prone to inflammation and inflammatory disorders that can be triggered by:
- Stress .
When your colon is healthy, it will efficiently remove waste that your body no longer needs. However, when your colon is unhealthy, it can lead to a variety of painful problems.
The most common disorders of the colon are inflammatory bowel diseases, such as:
- Ulcerative colitis : which causes pain in the sigmoid colon, the final part of the large intestine that leads to the rectum.
- The Crohn ‘s disease : which usually causes pain around the navel or lower right side of the abdomen.
- Diverticulitis: which causes sigmoid colon pain.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Most often causing pain in the lower left abdomen.
- Colorectal cancer : rarely causes abdominal pain.
Treatment for pain in the colon
Inflammatory bowel diseases are triggered or aggravated by a poor diet. There is an increase in the statistics of people suffering from colorectal cancer. Many diseases of the colon can be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating.
Cut back on certain foods
The first step in treating colon pain is modifying your diet to see if you can reduce inflammation and find relief. Certain foods contribute more to inflammation, including:
- Red meat
- Fried food.
- Refined sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Adjust your lifestyle
The second step in treating colon pain is to make other lifestyle changes, eliminating behaviors that negatively affect colon health, such as:
- Sitting excessively / sedentary work environment.
- Lack of exercise.
The third step is to review the medications you take. If possible, stop using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, which can increase inflammation and affect the intestinal lining. Your doctor can recommend alternatives.
Eat more fiber
Dietary fiber speeds up the waste elimination process, helping reduce constipation and inflammation. Without enough fiber to keep the intestine moving, stools can become hard and painful.
With enough fiber, the colon reduces the strain and pressure it places on the abdomen and veins, reducing the risk of:
- Varicose veins
- Colon cancer.
- High blood pressure
Some healthy sources of dietary fiber to consider introducing to your diet include:
- Nuts and seeds.
Drink more water
Dehydration can contribute to hard, painful bowel movements and slow, blocked bowel movements. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to maintain adequate hydration.
Do more exercise
A sedentary or high-stress lifestyle can aggravate the colon, so it’s important to find a way to relax and take time to give your body the exercise it needs to continue to function properly.
One study found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of diverticulitis in men by up to 37 percent.
To treat colon pain, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory and analgesic; You may also request laboratory, physical, and other procedures to detect and diagnose the cause of the pain.
In extreme cases, surgery is an option to relieve colon pain.