The ascending colon is located toward the right side of the human abdomen. It measures approximately 1 foot in length and may be found between the transverse colon and the caecum. The colon is part of the digestive system. When any portion of it becomes twisted, ruptured, perforated or inflamed, the patient can suffer serious as well as fatal effects.
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Some patients develop diverticulitis of the ascending colon. Diverticulitis indicates the presence of small pouches, or diverticulum, that can form most anywhere within the digestive tract. They can become inflamed and infected. While fairly rare (diverticulitis typically strikes the descending colon rather than the ascending colon), it does cause pain and illness. Diverticulitis is inflammation of the diverticulum. This can occur when faeces linger in the colon and cause infection.
Symptoms of diverticulitis in the ascending colon are fever, nausea, vomiting, excessive flatulence and possible masses. A colonoscopy is needed to correctly diagnose the condition.
Because the ascending colon borders the appendix, it often experiences problems during an appendicitis attack and is sometimes removed along with the appendix. Sometimes a healthy ascending colon is punctured or perforated during an appendectomy, due to its approximity to the appendix.
The ascending colon can become plagued with polyps and/or tumours. Symptoms of these problems include exhaustion, weakness and a significant decrease in iron in the blood. A colonoscopy is required for an accurate diagnosis.
The ascending colon can become plagued with even more serious diseases, such as Crohn's disease and/or cancer. Patients with one or both of these diagnoses may need their ascending colon removed. Called a right colectomy, removal of the ascending colon is usually removed by laparoscopy. This means tiny incisions are made on the abdomen where the ascending colon is located. A scope is then inserted through one of the incisions, and the ascending colon is removed. The colon is then rerouted to make up for the loss of the missing ascending colon.
Most of these problems associated with the ascending colon are correctable. In worst case scenarios like Crohn's disease and cancer, the ascending colon may require removal. However, if cancer hasn't spread beyond the ascending colon's boundaries and tainted other portions of the colon, most patients achieve a full recovery.
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