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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Toxic Megacolon
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Toxic Megacolon

Alternate Names : Toxic Dilation of the Colon

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Toxic megacolon is a serious complication that can follow inflammation or infection of the large bowel, or colon. It causes marked enlargement of the colon.

What is going on in the body?

The colon is the part of the bowel that attaches to the rectum and anus. When the colon becomes inflamed or infected, it may enlarge. Toxic megacolon describes a dangerous enlargement of the colon. This may result in a life-threatening tear, or perforation, of the colon.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The two primary causes of this condition are infections and inflammation. Inflammation is usually due to a condition known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD can cause inflammation in the lining of the colon for unknown reasons.

Medications used to control diarrhea may also raise the risk of this condition in some cases. Low blood levels of potassium may do the same.


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Toxic Megacolon: Symptoms & Signs

Author: Minot Cleveland, MD
Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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