Uncontrollable muscle contractions can be an uncomfortable and painful experience, but when these spasms occur in internal organs like the intestines, the effects may take an even greater toll. In many cases, these unpleasant sensations are just normal sporadic bodily reactions. Some underlying conditions, however, may feature bowel spasms as a prominent symptom. These include ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and emotional or physical stress. Short-term influences might range from unhealthy nutritional habits to infections.
The inner bowel muscles must necessarily contract in order to move waste through the body. Sometimes, though, these contractions occur in the absence of needed waste removal. During these occurrences, the spasms are often quite noticeable and painful.
If these bouts are infrequent, normal nerve misfirings are the likely culprit of bowel spasms. Every individual will likely experience involuntary twitches or movements in some part of the body, and the bowels are no exception. Certain factors like stress and spicy foods may exacerbate these effects. A bowel blockage could also hinder proper muscular function, as could an infection brought about by a parasite like blastocystitis hominis.
Such factors might also lead to the development of a more chronic condition called irritable bowel syndrome. This condition — featuring pain, bloating, and abnormal bowel movements — is one of the chief causes of spasms. The precise origins of the disease are often unknown. While frequent irritable bowel syndrome may be a precursor to cancer in some cases, bowel spasms themselves are generally not a common cancer-associated symptom.
Ulcers can cause a similar result. Specifically, ulcerative colitis is a condition that occurs due to raw spots in the intestinal area, often due to poor eating habits. The resulting open, raw sores can influence muscular efficiency along the intestinal walls, resulting in bowel spasms. A tell-tale sign of this disorder is bloody stools.
Just like other muscles, the muscles in the bowel are also vulnerable to injury or stress. A strained muscle will often twitch and otherwise move abnormally due to inflammation. Even emotional stress or anxiety can adversely affect muscles all over the body, including the intestines.
Since bowel spasms are usually a symptom rather than an isolated condition, treatment of the underlying disorder will likely prove most effective. Prescription drugs may help, and a specific line of pharmaceuticals called antispasmodics are often recommended. Muscle relaxers could work as well. In more severe cases, surgery may serve as another option. As for self-treatment, an individual may wish to curtail stress and bad nutritional habits like lack of fiber.