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Twisted colon symptoms

Updated February 21, 2019

A twisted colon is essentially a form of intestinal blockage. But instead of a hernia, tumour or foreign object, the obstruction is created by the large intestine itself. Often referred to as colonic volvulus, a portion of the colon actually becomes twisted, restricting blood flow within the digestive tract and obstructing the bowels. Your age is by far the most common factor contributing to this condition, but your colon may also become twisted due to genetics, constipation or the development of adhesions. If you were to experience a twisted colon, signs and symptoms almost always develop.

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One of the most common symptoms of a twisted colon is pain. This pain is usually isolated within the abdominal region and can vary in intensity from person to person. For the most, pain is usually accompanied by some level of periodic cramping. This is largely due to the restricted blood flow and limited passage of stool that causes the affected muscles to experience a sudden and violent contraction. As the area spasms, it's felt as a cramp within your abdomen.

Change in Bowel Movements

It's also quite common for colonic volvulus to cause a change in your bowel movements. Many people tend to suffer from a certain amount of constipation, but because the twisting has created an intestinal obstruction, it's normal to experience diarrhoea or loose, watery stools as well.

Abdominal Distention

As the condition persists, you may begin to suffer from abdominal distension, which is a swelling within the abdomen. This may be due to a build-up of gas, as some people actually lose the ability to pass gas with this condition, or it could be from constipation, because the ability to pass stool is now impeded. For some, this distension or swelling can cause the abdomen to become quite tender.


A twisted colon is also known to bring about the symptom of nausea. And much like pain, the amount of nausea you feel varies from person to person. But some people suffer from a level of nausea to the point of vomiting.


Sometimes, colonic volvulus causes a fever. The temperature of this fever, like other symptoms of the condition, varies from person to person, but is usually over 37.2 degrees C when present.


In some cases of a twisted colon, you can also begin to experience dehydration. This usually prompts an unexplained and heightened thirst. However, this symptom is more like to accompany diarrhoea caused by the condition, as the absorption of liquid by the large intestines has become compromised due to the twisting.

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About the Author

Dana Severson

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

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