Health

Volvulus- Symptoms and Treatment

Volvulus is a condition in which a segment of the small or large intestine gets twisted around itself along with the membrane that covers it (mesentery), causing bowel obstruction.

Volvulus can have serious complications and can be life-threatening if not treated on time. The treatment for volvulus is surgery which can be performed by a General Surgeon in Lahore.

Volvulus is one of the causes of intestinal obstruction, a condition in which the normal pathway of food through the intestines becomes blocked due to some obstruction.

Signs and symptoms of volvulus

The signs and symptoms of volvulus develop suddenly and include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Distended abdomen

Is volvulus dangerous?

Volvulus is a surgical emergency and requires urgent treatment. It is dangerous because it can have the following complications:

  • Obstruction of blood flow to the intestine
  • Hole in the intestine
  • Infection of the abdominal cavity
  • Spread of the bacteria to the whole body

Obstruction of blood flow to the intestine: Volvulus can obstruct the blood supply to the intestine (strangulation). Twisting of the intestine can cause the blood vessels to twist, making it impossible for blood to reach the affected segment of the bowel. When blood cannot reach a part of the intestine, it starts to die.

Hole in the intestine: When the intestine starts to die, it can cause a hole to form (perforation). The bowel is full of different bacteria and also contains food particles. A hole in the intestine can cause the contents in the intestine to leak out in the abdomen, causing infection.

Infection of the abdominal cavity: The spilling of contents of the intestine results in bacteria entering the abdominal cavity, resulting in infection (peritonitis). It is a critical condition as the infection can now spread to other neighboring organs and as well as to the whole body (sepsis).

Spread of the bacteria to the whole body: When the infection spreads to the body, it responds to it by releasing different chemicals in the body, a condition known as sepsis. It can cause low blood pressure and damage to multiple organs.

Diagnosis of volvulus

Doctors can diagnose volvulus after taking a detailed history of symptoms and doing a physical exam. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may suggest different tests such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Imagining tests such as X-ray and CT scan

How is volvulus treated?

A volvulus is treated by surgery and requires immediate correction. The surgeon helps untwist the twisted intestine and restore the blood flow to the affected segment.

Sometimes, surgeons may need to remove a large segment of the intestine due to the death of that segment.

Outlook

Volvulus is a surgical emergency. It develops suddenly and requires prompt treatment. With timely treatment, it can be managed well. However, one of the complications of volvulus is its recurrence. It can recur again even after treatment. The prognosis largely depends on how fast medical care is concerned.

As discussed above, volvulus can have dreadful complications and may prove fatal. If you ever notice any symptoms of volvulus in an adult or child, immediately consult a surgeon. You can visit a General Surgeon in Karachi.

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