Discover the muscle that plays a major role in our digestion – and how it may not move well enough in some people with Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC)
CIC is a bowel condition with symptoms of bloating, straining, and difficult, infrequent or incomplete bowel movements. If you are one of the ~35 million adults in the U.S. living with CIC*, you may find the lack of complete relief from your symptoms frustrating.
*Based on global prevalence of 14%
If you've increased your water intake, made lifestyle changes and tried over‑the‑counter or prescription medications, you may still not be finding the symptom relief you want.
THE COLON IS ACTUALLY
AND IT MAY NOT BE
When it comes to CIC, talking to your doctor and understanding the role that the colon muscle plays can help put things in perspective.
The colon muscle moves involuntarily, similar to how our eyes, heart and lungs move on their own.
So how does the colon muscle move?
The layers of muscle that wrap around the colon aren't like your arm or leg muscles. They're a different type called “smooth” muscle, and they squeeze in coordinated patterns.
The colon is roughly about
The colon muscle layer is roughly
two key jobs:
1. They mix things up
These mixing movements allow more
contact between digested contents and
colon walls, which assists with absorption.
2. They make things move
This is similar to how food moves down the throat, where muscles behind the food squeeze while those in front relax.
Think 1 mph feels slow?
Some contractions travel
The colon is shaped like
an upside down U and the
colon muscle works both with
and against gravity to move
The colon muscle contractions are typically most active during the day — especially after waking up or eating a meal — and are often contracting right before
“the urge to go”.
But when it comes to CIC,
studies have found that these
colon muscle contractions
may not happen often enough!
The colon muscle keeps
us moving — but in people
with CIC, it may just not
move well enough. That's
the colon muscle connection.
As with any condition, your healthcare provider is your best source of information. And in order to provide them with helpful details, it's important to keep track of your symptoms. Over the next few weeks or months, try keeping a daily record of:
To help when talking with your doctor or
asking about how muscles make things move,
here's a simple CIC symptom tracker
you can fill out and bring to your