Toxic megacolon - Treatment
Toxic dilation of the colon; Megarectum
You will receive fluids and electrolytes to help prevent dehydration and shock. The process that leads to megacolon can be treated medically first. However, this is usually not enough to reverse the megacolon.
If rapid widening is allowed to continue, an opening (perforation) can form in the colon. Therefore, most cases of toxic megacolon will require surgery, such as colectomy (removal of the entire colon).
You may receive antibiotics to prevent sepsis (a severe infection).
If the condition does not improve, there is a significant risk of death. In this case, a colectomy is usually needed.
- Perforation of the colon
Calling your health care provider:
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you develop severe abdominal pain -- especially if you also have:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Frequent diarrhea
- Painful bowel movements
- Rapid heart rate
- Tenderness when the abdomen is pressed
- Reviewed last on: 1/20/2010
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Stenson WF. Inflammatory bowel disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 144.
Peterson MA. Disorders of the large intestine. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 93.
Marrero F. Severe complications of inflammatory bowel disease. Med Clin North Am. 2008;92:671-686.
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