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Twisted Bowel – Symptoms, Surgery, Causes, Treatment

What is Twisted Bowel?


In the medical community twisted bowel is known as volvulus, which means twisting of the bowels around one’s mesentery attachment. This kind of condition is a rare and affects the small intestines, large intestines and stomach. It is commonly seen in children or infants and may be seen in adults.

Twisted-Bowel image

Twisted Bowel

When a person has a twisted bowel, his or her intestine’s shape changes. It may lead to the obstruction of the person’s bowel. When the twisted bowel affects the small intestine, it is called small bowel volvulus. While, if it affects the large intestines, it is known as colonic volvulus. Despite the fact that this condition is rare, it is a serious medical condition that warrants special medical attention. Thus, early diagnosis and treatment is important. According to statistics, the morbidity rate of the persons suffering from twisted bowel is about 37 percent. Most  inflicted with twisted bowel who do not go through recuperation will eventually lead to death.

Twisted Bowel Symptoms

The affectation of the twisted bowel will produce different symptoms and signs. The severity levels from one person to another also differ. Persons who have milder forms of twisted bowel may not have any serious problems or complications. However, those persons who have a severe or chronic form of the twisted bowel condition may lead to serious problems or complications such as, lack of nutrients, oxygen, and blood blockages. When this happens, it is known as strangulation. When strangulation is untreated, it will lead to bowel necrosis or the cell death in the gastrointestinal system.

Some of the symptoms that are commonly reported when one person has twisted bowel are:

  • Nausea

Persons with twisted bowel experiences nausea and its severity may differ in various persons.

  • Dehydration

When a person has twisted bowel it will eventually lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is a medical condition wherein a person passes his or her waste that is watery in consistency. Hence, when this happens the person will be at risk for dehydration.

  • Abdominal distention

When there is prolonged twisted bowel, it may lead to the abdominal inflammation or distention. When one has abdominal distention it may be due to constipation or there is a problem with the passage of gas. In addition to that, the person will experience tenderness in his or her abdominal region.

  • Pain

One common sign of persons with twisted bowel is pain. The degree of pain felt will vary from one person to another. Once a person experiences pain because of the twisted bowel, they may also experience cramps. When one has pain brought about by twisted bowel, it will lead to a restriction of channeling the person’s stool and a limitation of the blood flow, which leads to vicious and sudden spasms and contraction of the muscles.

  • Fever

Persons with twisted bowel also experience fever that rises to about 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Changes in the bowel movement

When one is suffering from twisted bowel, the person will experience changes in the bowel movement, as well as suffering from a symptom known as constipation or diarrhea.

  • Vomiting

This may be experienced side by side with nausea. The person may experience bile vomiting or non-bile vomiting as the area in the twisted bowel is blocked, making food to regurgitate its way back up.

Lack of appetite – Due to the fact that there is twisted bowel, the person has a tendency to lose his or her appetite.

Malnutrition – When a person has twisted bowel, there will be blockage of food to pass, which can result in malnutrition since food, which is the source of nutrition, can no longer pass and be absorbed by the body.

Twisted Bowel Causes

There is still no clarity as to why twisted bowels occur in some persons. Research shows that the intestines fold upon itself, which results in twisted bowel. However, it can manage to untwist on its own without any medical interventions.

There are actually two etiological reasons for twisted bowel, which are primary and secondary. Primary causes deals with the motility of the gut and its diet. While the secondary etiological reason deals with the aggravation of the twisted bowel due to underlying disease conditions, despite the absence of any abnormalities in the anatomic region. Other causes of twisted bowel are as follows:

  • Megacolon
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Stenosis or atresia
  • Meconium ileus
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Intussusceptions
  • Intestinal pseudo obstruction
  • Meckel diverticulum
  • Colonic volvulus

Twisted Bowel Treatment

Persons with twisted bowel syndrome are given the following options with regards to treatment. Such treatments are suggested:

  • Diet Modification

In preventing constipation, there is a need to modify the diet from unhealthy to healthy diet and consuming lots of liquids, such as water. The diet should also be rich in fiber.

  • Colon Cleansing

It is otherwise known as colon therapy, colonic irrigation and colon hydrotherapy, which is to remove toxins, like feces, from the intestinal tract and the colon. This may done a few times in a year depending on the warrant of the disease condition.

  • Exercise

It is suggested for persons with twisted bowel to have a regular exercise routine. The benefit of having an exercise routine is good for the digestive system as it will reduce the twisted bowel symptoms. In addition to that, it stimulates the flow of blood in the abdominal region by relieving pain and other problems in the gastrointestinal region.

Twisted Bowel Surgery

If for instance, the person with twisted bowel has a very severe form of the disease condition; surgical treatment is the best option. It is through surgery that the bowel is straightened up so that it will return to its normal state. However, if the condition is so severe and surgically straightening the twisted bowel will not give any relief, then excising the affected bowel may be a good treatment.

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