A person with an abnormally long colon can suffer from redundant colon. This means that the colon (large intestine) is lengthier than the average 47- to 60-inch colon. While in some cases, people have no idea they have redundant colon, others do suffer from uncomfortable symptoms. If left untreated, it can lead to complications.
The colon is an important part of our digestive system. It attaches to our small intestine at one end and our rectum and anus at the other. The colon absorbs water and moves waste to the rectum so it can be expelled from our bodies. With a redundant colon, the colon can have additional loops and twists.
Redundant colon signs and symptoms
Long colon problems come with various symptoms that affect everyone differently. However, it is important to be aware of all the potential symptoms. If a case of redundant colon occurs and the symptoms are severe, it needs to be treated.
Here are some of the typical redundant colon symptoms:
When a person with redundant colon experiences twists in the colon, it is called colonic volvulus. The problem with colonic volvulus is that it can slow or stop the flow of stool, which leads to an obstruction that can require emergency surgery.
What are causes and complications of a redundant colon?
Research into what causes a redundant colon is ongoing. We do know that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to the condition. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and are aware of a family member who suffers from redundant colon, it is important to mention that to your doctor. Additionally, if a person has cancer or colitis, it could cause more complications.
Untreated redundant colon can become really unpleasant. There are a number of potential complications associated with redundant colon. It can lead to rectal prolapse, which means the intestine can protrude from the anus. If untreated, it can also cause hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
When to see a doctor?
When people have redundant colon without any symptoms, it is not a medical emergency. However, having the condition does increase the risk for gastrointestinal problems that could require medical attention. You should see a doctor if you are having extreme stomach or lower abdominal pain, haven’t had a bowel movement for more than three days, or if you are vomiting brown, stool-like contents.
Redundant colon treatments tips
In most cases, a redundant colon is diagnosed through an X-ray or colonoscopy that is conducted for another reason. Once a redundant colon is discovered, the patient will be directed to follow certain dietary routines. Most diets for redundant colon include foods that contain fiber. There are also medical interventions for redundant colon treatment that may be needed in severe cases. This includes redundant colon surgery, which can be necessary if a person is unable to pass stool. In less severe situations, medical treatment can include prescribing fiber-containing supplements along with changes to diet.
Redundant colon prevention and diet tips
Constipation is one of the main problems with redundant colon, so if you have the condition or want to prevent it, there are steps you can try. Some diet tips are outlined below:
Fiber – Adding fiber to your diet should be done gradually to avoid bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Nutritionists say men need at least 30 grams and women need about 20 grams of fiber each day. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that contain fiber, including apples, pears, raspberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and spinach.
Flaxseed – This acts as a natural laxative and is available as whole seeds, ground flaxseed meal, and flaxseed oil. You can put flaxseed in your shakes, your cereal, or your salads.
Water – Drinking lots of water has been known to help people with constipation. This is because it can keep stools soft, allowing for easier passage.
Whole grains – Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, and brown rice also contain fiber and are good options for those who want to avoid constipation. Beans are also a fiber-rich food.
Prunes – They not only contain fiber but have sorbitol and phenolic acids, which are known to improve bowel function.
Avoid processed food – These types of foods tend to be low in fiber, higher in fat, and move through the digestive system much slower.
Abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation associated with redundant colon can be uncomfortable to live with, but there are even more reasons to ensure that your large intestine is functioning well. Some studies suggest that people who have normal, regular bowel movements are less likely to develop other health problems, including certain types of cancer. A healthy digestive tract can also help us maintain a healthy weight.