The colon, also known as the large intestine, is the last part of the digestive tract made up of the appendix, rectum, and the colon itself, whose function is to complete the digestion process through the absorption of water and eliminating waste through the anus. . The colon of humans is considered the largest due to its length and length.
Some alterations can trigger problems in the large intestine; toxic megacolon is rare and occurs due to other complications. Once the diagnosis is made and treated immediately, it should be followed up since the patient’s life is at stake. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the symptoms of toxic megacolon, its causes, and treatment.
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Toxic megacolon: causes
Toxic megacolon is an inflammatory process that occurs in the deeper layers of the colon, which causes it to stop working and show an increase in volume. In severe cases, this can advance and break.
The use of the word toxic indicates the severity of the alteration; it can appear in people who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases as a result of:
There are also other megacolons such as:
- Acute colonic ileum
- Congenital dilation of the colon
These alterations are capable of causing damage to the colon, including distention; these problems are not caused by infection or inflammation.
Megacolon can also be a consequence of infectious processes produced by:
- Trypanosoma cruzi
When megacolon is caused by an inflammatory bowel disorder, the widening and dilation of the colon take place. Because of this, the colon cannot remove gas or stool from the body. Both accumulate in the colon and the intestine and can rupture.
In this case, the rupture of the colon can lead to death. This occurs due to the breakdown of the intestine, as the bacteria found inside are released into the abdominal cavity, causing a severe infection that can lead to the patient’s death.
Toxic megacolon: symptoms
Toxic megacolon can occur unexpectedly with the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain.
- Abdominal distension.
- Sensitivity and abdominal irritation.
- General weakness
- Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Bloody liquid stools.
- Frequent diarrhea
- Pain when evacuating.
- Low blood pressure.
- Alteration of the mental state.
Once some of these symptoms of toxic megacolon are detected, it is advisable to go to the doctor immediately for an evaluation and start the appropriate treatment.
Diagnosis of toxic megacolon
In case the symptoms of toxic megacolon appear, a specialist doctor should be consulted. He will use the patient’s medical history to carry out the diagnosis. He will make history to rule out inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as a physical exam, where abdominal pain and distention will be evident. Similarly, you will investigate the presence of bowel sounds through abdominal auscultation.
In addition, in case you suspect that it is this disease, you will request complementary studies such as:
- Plain X-ray of the abdomen.
- Blood studies such as complete hematology and electrolytes.
- Abdominal ultrasound.
- Computed tomography of the stomach.
- Abdominal magnetic resonance.
Toxic megacolon: treatment
The treatment of toxic megacolon will depend on the state of the disease and the patient’s conditions.
If the patient presents a septic shock, he will be placed in the Intensive Care Unit of a health center, where he will be assisted with:
- Mechanic ventilation.
- Drugs to treat the symptoms present, from antibiotics to treat hypotension and poor blood clotting.
- Intravenous hydration.
- Oxygen Therapy.
The vast majority of cases of toxic megacolon require surgery due to the high risk of a colon rupture. When this happens, surgery is done to remove part of the entire organ. Depending on the magnitude, a colectomy will be performed, which consists of the partial or complete removal of the colon.
In cases where the diagnosis is made on time and treatment is started immediately, it will have a favorable prognosis because of the appearance of complications such as:
- Perforation of the colon.
If you have a colectomy, you must have an ileostomy to perform an ileoanal anastomosis with a pelvic pouch. Through this bag, the patient will be able to eliminate stool after removing the colon.
It is essential to know that toxic megacolon is a complication of intestinal diseases. If treated in time, risks and complications that could cause death to the patient are avoided.
In cases where you suffer from an inflammatory disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you should change your lifestyle and follow the doctor’s recommendations; in this way, the appearance of symptoms of severe inflammatory disease will be avoided.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.