What Is a Redundant Colon? Diet and Treatment Tips to Follow

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redundant colonOur colon is a vital part of our digestive system, and without it, we would not be able to naturally process food and waste products and toxins from our system. For some people, the colon is extended in length, which may present difficulties with the elimination process. We will look at the symptoms of the so-called redundant colon and learn some at-home care techniques to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

The colon is also referred to as the large intestine, and it is known as the last part of the digestive tract. Running from the small intestine to the rectum, the colon is responsible for absorbing water and transporting waste products as the muscle walls contract. Within the colon, there are healthy bacteria along these walls that work to break down undigested food. It comprises the descending colon, ascending colon, transverse colon, and sigmoid colon. The colon as a whole averages 47 to 60 inches in length.

What Is a Redundant Colon?

Now that we understand how the colon works, what does redundant colon mean? When the colon is referred to as redundant, it simply means that the colon is usually long. The extra length is usually seen in the descending colon, or the third and penultimate portion of the colon. It may have loops and twists along the pathway, giving it the additional names tortuous colon or elongated colon.

Redundant Colon Symptoms

It may be hard to pinpoint symptoms of a redundant colon for two reasons. First, the symptoms mimic those of other disorders and diseases and may be mistaken for mild digestive issues. Second, a redundant colon often does not present any symptoms. If symptoms are present, they can range from mild to severe and may require treatment. The most common symptoms of a redundant colon are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Fecal Impaction

Redundant Colon Causes

A case of a redundant colon is seen mostly in those with a genetic risk factor for this condition. This means the family members of a redundant colon patient have a higher risk of developing the disorder. In other cases, the cause is largely unknown.

Redundant Colon Complications

While some cases of a redundant colon may not cause concern in the way of symptoms, patients are still at risk for serious complications. The colon may become twisted in such a way that a blockage develops and slows or stops the elimination of stool. This is known as colonic volvulus, and requires immediate medical attention in the form of a surgical procedure.

If the portion of the sigmoid colon twists, it creates the condition called sigmoid volvulus. When this section is involved, complications such as severe constipation, abdominal distention, nausea, and vomiting may occur.

Complications from constipation may result in rectal prolapse or anal fissures. These can see physical complications of the intestine extend beyond the anus. Other complications may be hemorrhoids, severe diarrhea and blood in stool matter.

Redundant Colon Treatment

As most cases of redundant colon do not present any notable symptoms, it may only be diagnosed through testing for gastrointestinal complaints. These tests include X-rays and possibly a colonoscopy.

Treatment for redundant colon focuses on changing your regular diet and drinking plenty of fluids. If the condition calls for medical attention, many cases are referred to a surgeon for reconstructive purposes, or possible removal of damaged portion of large intestine.

Redundant Colon Diet

To help you maintain a healthy and regular lifestyle while dealing with a redundant colon condition, we have listed some tips to incorporate into your daily habits.

1. Diet

For a redundant colon diet, it is important to include high-fiber foods to prevent constipation and its symptoms of bloating, discomfort, and pain. Foods enriched with fiber will help soften stools for less strain on the colon. The recommended daily amount for fiber is 20 to 25 grams on a daily 2,500-calorie diet. Gradually incorporate natural laxatives into your daily menu such as flaxseeds, whole-grain breads, beans, fruits, lentils, and vegetables. You can also enjoy tasty treats such as popcorn to boost fiber intake. Prunes are a wonderful choice to maintain bowel function with fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic acid components. Avoid processed foods as the additives may offset any source of fiber.

2. Fluids

The redundant colon condition often results in hard, painful bowel movements. By drinking water, your stools will be better expelled.

3. Exercise

Exercise is known to keep a person regular in terms of bowel movements and may help with issues of a redundant colon. It does not have to be strenuous, as walking is a great exercise to maintain proper digestive functioning.

The medical condition, redundant colon, may send shudders down your spine, but in most cases, there are no symptoms. In fact, many people do not know they have any abnormal twists or loops in their colon until they have a scheduled colonoscopy or imaging tests for digestive problems. While a redundant colon can result in complications requiring surgery, there are ways to live comfortably and prevent such difficulties. Natural home remedies and lifestyle changes can greatly improve your chances of averting the adverse effects of the disorder.


Sources:
“Redundant Colon: Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, Diet,” ePain Assist; https://www.epainassist.com/abdominal-pain/intestine/redundant-colon, last accessed April 25, 2017.
“Redundant Colon,” Healthline; http://www.healthline.com/health/redundant-colon#overview1, last accessed April 25, 2017.
Corleone, J., “Redundant Colon & Constipation Diet,” Live Strong, July 19, 2011; http://www.livestrong.com/article/495984-redundant-colon-constipation-diet/, last accessed April 25, 2017.

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