Functional colopathy: symptoms, causes and treatments
The mechanisms of functional colopathy are not well known. There are constant signs of abdominal pain, abdominal bloating (or abdominal meteorism), intestinal transit disorders.
Abdominal pain is characterized by spasms, often after meals. It can last several hours and up to a few days. Stool or gas emission usually brings relief. It can be violent, and radiate in the back and into the thighs.
Abdominal meteorism is usually accompanied by noises caused by gases. The abdomen is distended and tight clothing at the waist aggravates these signs.
The intestinal transit disorders are either constipation or diarrhea.
These signs are caused by contractions of the small intestine and colon. If they are too strong, they are painful and cause diarrhea. If they are too weak, then constipation is observed.
Functional colopathy alternates periods of crisis and lull.
We can observe associated signs that are a great fatigue, migraines, palpitations. Weight loss can be associated with the patient eating less fear of triggering seizures.
Why do we have functional colopathy?
This condition is not serious and has no significant effect on the digestive system. It does not increase the risk of developing a Colon Cancer nor a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. There is no lesion of the intestinal mucosa. Only the mechanical functioning of the intestine is disturbed. However, it can be disabling on a daily basis. It is often caused by the stress, or anxiety disorders. Some foods can also make the signs worse. When performing additional tests, they show no abnormality.
In rare cases, an attack of the digestive bacterial flora naturally present in the intestine can be at the origin of a functional colopathy. We must therefore ensure the proper balance of this flora.
In women, we also find hormonal factors, since seizures appear more often in premenstrual period (just before the period).
There are also "families of colopaths", but it is not defined if it is really a family disease or environmental factors.
What treatment to propose?
Irritable bowel syndrome does not cause a definite lesion, so treatment is difficult. It is based on a healthy lifestyle. The patient must know how to recognize the foods that trigger his seizures. In case of constipation, we recommend a fiber intake, but which should however remain moderate because of the risk of bloating. You have to eat slowly, take the time to chew well. Avoid soft drinks and chewing gum. It is also discouraged to consume alcohol, tobacco and coffee that stimulate intestinal motility. Regular physical exercise is recommended.
It is also possible to use drugs of the antispasmodic type, charcoal in case of bloating, or antidiarrheals. Laxatives are strongly discouraged because they aggravate the symptoms. In the most severe cases, low dose antidepressant drugs may be offered.
It is also advisable, when the affection is troublesome daily, to follow a psychotherapy to better apprehend the stress and the anxiety or to enter programs of relaxation. The disease must be clearly explained to the patient in order to reduce his anxiety and adapt his lifestyle.
Functional colopathy: what are the medical examinations?
In most cases, a simple medical examination accompanied by an appropriate interrogation, sometimes with a period of observation of a few weeks, makes it possible to make the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. If necessary, the doctor can then refer the patient to a dietitian / nutritionist to develop a diet to improve the comfort of life.
Complementary examinations (blood test, stool analysis, abdominal ultrasound, upper digestive endoscopy, colonoscopy ...) can be proposed to the patient if:
- the symptoms appeared after 50 years,
- the symptoms appeared after a stay abroad,
- the symptoms occur during the night,
- the patient is thin, has blood in the stool, suffers from fever ...
In these situations, the doctor will then look for the presence of an associated disease: celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, cholelithiasis, hyperthyroidism, intestinal infection or intestinal parasitosis, colorectal cancer ...
Read also :
⋙ Irritable bowel: make peace with your belly
⋙ Irritable bowel syndrome: how to recognize symptoms?
⋙ Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Effective Remedies for Functional Colopathy