Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2008 Danielle, Community Member, asks

Q: The doctor couldn't do a colonoscopy on me because of twisted intestin. What will they do next?

My lower abdominal pain started last August. I have found blood in my stools. So my doctor send me for all kind of tests. Last week they couldn't do the colonoscopy and when I ask the nurse he said that after they perform a scan they saw that my intestine was twisted. I won't see the specialist until June 19. I would like to know if I will need an operation to untwist my intestine. Any information on the subject is appreciated. The worse is not knowing and the waiting. I'm taking narcotic for the pain but I'm afraid of the addiction of it but the pain is unbelievable, I feel I have no choice but to take it.

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Answers (2)
Vicki M, Health Guide
5/28/08 3:22pm

Hi Danielle,


The condition you have is called Intestinal volvulus or twisted intestine. It is good you have caught this now because it can become a life threatening issue. If the intestine is twisted to the point of the blood supply being cut off, the tissue will die and gangrene can set in. You can read about twisted intestines here and more information is available here. There is also a section here about prevention and treatment.



I hope this helps somewhat. Online resources are great places to find information about your health that will help you ask all the right questions when you see your doctor, but they can not take the place of your doctor's sound medical advice.

Take care and stay in touch. Let us know how you are doing!

Vicki M

Amy Thomas, Health Guide
6/10/08 2:07pm

There are actually a few different types of twisted intestines, or "volvulus," and recommendations would be based on which type you have. Sigmoid volvulus, which is the most common type and usually found in people over age 50, can be treated with rectal tube decompression (sucking excess air out and allowing the bowel to untwist on its own) which you may have had in the hospital. If the volvulus recurs or tube decompression fails, surgery may be needed. Some doctors recommend surgery even if tube decompression is successful in order to avoid recurrence because it is so common.


You should discuss this persistent pain with your doctor, and seek help immediately if your pain is severe, or if you have another episode of blood-stained stools. Volvulus is typically a serious and acute (short-duration) problem, so while your pain over the past year could conceivably be related to twisting and untwisting of the bowel, it may also be from another cause that led to the discovery that you have the potential for twisted bowel. It's difficult to speculate without knowing your full history and test results, so your best option is to touch base with your doctor and inform him or her of your continued pain.

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By Danielle, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/17/12, First Published: 05/15/08