A twisted bowel is exactly what it sounds like: It is a twist or loop in the intestines that results in an obstruction. When it is the small bowel affected, the medical term is "small bowel volvulus," while the large intestine involved is called the "colonic volvulus." If it happens in the large intestine, there are two types of twisted bowel: the sigmoid or the cecal, depending upon where in the colon the twist is located.
The obstruction in either of these parts of the intestine can quickly result in necrosis, or death of tissue, since the obstruction prevents blood flow. This can be an immediate problem with any bowel obstruction, so this is not something to wait around about. Symptoms vary with different causes of twisted bowel, and treatments also differ accordingly. If you have any symptoms of a twisted bowel, it's time to get checked out by a doctor.
Sometimes a twisted bowel begins with very few symptoms. You might just feel a little "off" or have some minor abdominal pain. But over time, the symptoms grow more severe. Once the flow of blood is blocked, the bowel might start to die, and that is obviously serious cause for concern.
Symptoms of a twisted bowel include nausea, abdominal pain and constipation. You might also hear strange bowel sounds and have bloating or flatulence. When you do use the bathroom, the stools might be bloody. Finally, there will be pronounced abdominal tenderness, as well as distention of the abdomen. These might be mild at first, but can become severe quickly as the condition progresses.
Sometimes it is not clear what causes a twisted bowel, but there are a few things that doctors have found that can lead to the problem. Here are a few of the reasons, in no particular order:
Though most cases of twisted bowel need to be seen by a doctor, there are ways to help avoid getting the problem in the first place.
These home remedies don't take much time and can help you avoid a twisted bowel or bowel obstruction.
But what if twisted bowel happens anyway, despite all your precautions and home remedies, unfortunately, that might mean that surgical intervention and other medical treatments are required. Doctors might need to do x-rays, CT-scans, or barium scans in order to determine where the problem is and exactly what is going on inside you. They might sometimes be able to pinpoint the cause, but often the cause is elusive.
If the twisted bowel is severe, surgery might be required. In this case, you might have to undergo a colonoscopy. In this procedure, doctors use a tube that goes through the nose or the anus. The effect can be to alleviate the symptoms of twisted bowel, including the distention, discomfort, vomiting and nausea. However, emergency surgery might be required if the twisted bowel does not sort itself out on its own after such a procedure.