Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Toxic Megacolon Overview

What is toxic megacolon?
A person with toxic megacolon has life threatening inflammation and enlargement of the colon, caused by another illness. An inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, is the most common cause for toxic megacolon. About 1 percent of those with ulcerative colitis develop toxic megacolon. In most cases of toxic megacolon, surgery is required to remove the colon.

What are the symptoms of toxic megacolon?
Symptoms of toxic megacolon include abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, diarrhea, blood in the stool, vomiting, fever, and fatigue.

How does the doctor treat toxic megacolon?
Treatment for toxic megacolon may include intravenous fluids, antibiotics, corticosteroid medication, and surgery to remove the colon.

Continue to Toxic Megacolon Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Toxic Megacolon References
  1. Gan SI, Beck PL. A new look at toxic megacolon: an update and review of incidence, etiology, pathogenesis, and management. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Nov;98(11):2363-71. [14638335]
  2. Imbriaco M, Balthazar EJ. Toxic megacolon: role of CT in evaluation and detection of complications. Clin Imaging. 2001 Sep-Oct;25(5):349-54. [11682295]
  3. Pascu M, Muller AR, Wiedenmann B, Dignass AU. Rescue therapy with tacrolimus in a patient with toxic megacolon. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2003 May;18(3):271-5. [12785330]
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