This is not a disease, it is a condition. It is due to a disturbance in the vegetative or autonomic nervous system. Usually it is neurogenic in origin, although often it is the result of irritation either in the gastrointestinal tract or in the organs adjacent to the gastrointestinal tract. While not critically ill, these patients, because of their anxiety, are really sick. The mortality is nil but the morbidity is great. Because the pain of a spastic irritable colon can simulate the pain associated with disease of any organ of the abdomen, the patient should not be subjected to surgical or even stringent medical therapy without the benefit of adequate study. The story the clinician so frequently hears when he is consulted by a patient suffering from "the so-called mucous colitis or spastic irritable colon" is illustrated by the following case history:
A married woman of 46 complains of
McGAVRAN CW. THE SO-CALLED MUCOUS COLITIS OR SPASTIC IRRITABLE COLON. JAMA. 1942;120(3):182–184. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830380014004
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