Volvulus is the term used for twisted bowel in medical science. It is a condition in which the intestine gets abnormally twisted. It leads to intestinal obstruction. Both, large as well as small intestine can get twisted. Volvulus can interrupt the flow of blood to that particular segment of intestine and cause necrosis (death) of the intestinal tissue.
It is a serious condition and requires prompt medical attention to prevent further complications. Elderly individuals, infants and people having pre-existing bowel diseases are prone to twisted bowel. The main symptoms include blood and mucus in stool, pain in abdomen, distension of abdomen, vomiting etc.
Clinical history, abdominal sonogram, and CT scan are the tests required to diagnose intestinal obstruction. After confirmed diagnosis, twisted bowel requires surgical repair.
What Causes A Twisted Bowel?
In many cases, the exact reason behind intestinal twisting remains unclear. But many times following causes are suspected:
- Rapid peristaltic movement. This may occur in case of diarrhea in children. In adults it can occur after taking laxatives.
- Malrotation of intestine. It is a birth defect in which there is partial rotation of intestine. The intestines are placed abnormally and this may make them vulnerable to twist.
- Diverticulosis is an intestinal condition where there are pouches in the lining of intestine. They can be from the birth or can develop after birth.
- Eating a heavy meal
Symptoms Of A Twisted Bowel
The symptoms of twisted bowel may vary in respect of its severity, the portion of intestine involved and the age of the patient. In the beginning the symptoms may be mild and the patient may consider it to be normal. However, after a period they become severe and may require urgent medical attention.
As the condition progresses for long period, the blood supply can be hampered and that portion of intestine becomes dead.
Below are given some of the important symptoms:
- Pain in abdomen
- Blood in stool
- Distension of abdomen
- Mucus in stool
- Tenderness of abdomen
- Absence of peristaltic sound
Treatment For Twisted Bowel
Twisted bowel needs urgent medical attention. But, before that it is necessary to diagnose the condition. Medical history, clinical examination, tests such as sonography, CT scan, MRI, is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Once the diagnosis is made, the next step is surgery. Exploratory laparotomy is performed to find the twist. Once the affected site is detected, the surgeon tries to unwind it. If there is gangrene of intestine, then resection and anastomosis is performed. This means the dead portion of intestine is cut and the ends of healthy intestine is joined together.