Spastic colitis and irritable bowel syndrome: which expression is prevalent? (A review of 120 cases)

Trop Gastroenterol. Jan-Mar 1992;13(1):27-35.


Spastic Colitis (SC) of the fifties has been deleted and included in the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as inflammation is not present, and the disturbed intestinal motility may involve the small and large intestine. With the advent of colonoscopy, we could investigate this generalized common term. Between 1983 and 1988 we have studied 120 documented cases of SC by colonoscopy with multiple biopsies. In every patient, we relied on consecutive procedures to confirm the diagnosis. They included: Stool examination, barium enema, small bowels series, colonoscopy with multiple biopsies. Serological diagnosis of Amebiasis has been applied to 41 patients only. With a normal small bowels, barium enema revealed a severe spasm of the whole colon, or a segmental spasm in one part of the colon. In 53 cases (44%,) we have noted virtual absence of haustra in the tubular descending colon. Colonoscopy in all cases has revealed an active contraction with some congestion of the mucosa or hyperemia. Different degrees of inflammatory reaction shown on multiple biopsies make the diagnosis of SC in these cases more relevant. In the Afro-Asiatic countries where amebiasis is endemic, SC is to be considered, as colonoscopy is proving the prevalence of congested or inflammatory process in the colonic mucosa, even when stool examination is repeatedly negative for amebiasis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Colitis / diagnosis*
  • Colitis / etiology
  • Colitis / physiopathology
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / etiology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Dysentery, Amebic / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors