A swollen colon, sometimes called an enlarged colon, can cause pain and discomfort to an individual. Constipation, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can all cause an enlarged colon. The reason behind an enlarged colon will help determine the course of treatment. Some typical treatments include laxatives, anti-inflammatory medications and surgery.
Constipation occurs when a person cannot pass a bowel movement with ease. There are many causes of constipation, including poor diet, medication intake, stress and certain medical conditions. Colon swelling can occur as a result of constipation and can cause an individual to suffer from lower abdominal pain and to feel nauseous.
The best way to heal an enlarged colon caused by constipation is for the person to have a bowel movement. A doctor might suggest that the patient take a laxative or stool softener to help initiate a bowel movement. To prevent a swollen colon, preventative measures should be taken by people who are prone to constipation. These measures might include drinking plenty of water daily, eating a high-fiber diet and exercising.
People who have Crohn's disease have chronic, intestinal inflammation. This can cause severe and frequent diarrhea. Excess inflammation can lead to a swollen colon, which can even be at risk for tearing if it becomes too inflamed. Many Crohn's patients will be placed on anti-inflammatory medications by a doctor to help prevent and heal this problem.
Many individuals who have IBS have problems with their intestinal muscles. These muscle spasms can cause a swollen colon. IBS can be made worse by stress and anxiety, so some patients might take anti-anxiety medications to help reduce attacks. Not all IBS sufferers are affected the same way. Some might suffer from excessive diarrhea, while others might have trouble with constipation.
IBS sufferers who have chronic diarrhea are encouraged to eat small meals and avoid stimulants. Those who are plagued by constipation are put on a high-fiber diet. All of these practices can help reduce colon swelling.
Most instances of a swollen colon can be treated through medications and diet. There are some cases, however, in which a procedure might be necessary. If a person's colon becomes too swollen, he or she might suffer from an impacted bowel. A medical professional might need to go in and remove the trapped piece of waste with a surgical tool. In very rare cases, a person might have to have part of his or her large intestine removed.