Redundant Colon

What is a redundant colon?

A redundant colon occurs when there are too many small bowel movements or constipation. There are two types of redundant colons: One where one large bowel movement results in a stool that is loose and hard to pass; the other type where one large bowel movement results in a soft, watery stool that passes easily with little effort.

The most common cause of a redundant colon is overuse of laxatives such as enemas and antibiotics. Other possible causes include:

• Constipation caused by anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder)

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – a chronic condition characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. IBS affects up to 10% of women and 5% of men in Western countries. Symptoms may vary from person to person but they usually involve nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and/or diarrhea.

• Crohn’s disease – a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Symptoms may include bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, fever, weight loss and fatigue.

• Ulcerative Colitis – a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease characterized by inflammation of the mucosal layer covering the gut wall. Symptoms may include blood in stools and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is often associated with malnutrition and malabsorption syndromes.

In some cases, no known cause can be identified. In these cases, it is labeled as idiopathic redundant colon.

What are the symptoms of a redundant colon?

Symptoms of a redundant colon may include the following:

• A painful bowel movement

• Bloating and flatulence (burping or passing gas)

• The need to strain when having a bowel movement

• More than two bowel movements per day

What causes a redundant colon?

There are two types of redundant colons:

1. One large bowel movement results in a stool that is loose and hard to pass. This is known as stagnant colon. This condition is caused by too little movement in the large bowel. The most common cause of this condition is a side effect from using laxatives or antidiarrheal agents (overuse).

Other common causes include lack of exercise, poor diet, lack of fluids and certain medications (e.g.

Sources & references used in this article:

Redundant colon as a cause of constipation by P Brummer, P Seppälä, U Wegelius – Gut, 1962 –

Colon lengthening slows transit: is this the mechanism underlying redundant colon or slow transit constipation? by BR Southwell – The Journal of physiology, 2010 –

Spiral overtube–assisted colonoscopy after incomplete colonoscopy in the redundant colon by DB Schembre, AS Ross, MN Gluck… – Gastrointestinal …, 2011 – Elsevier

Surgical treatment of the redundant interposed colon after retrosternal esophagoplasty by L Bonavina, B Chella, A Segalin, S Luzzani – The Annals of thoracic surgery, 1998 – Elsevier

The redundant colon by PF Moller – Acta Radiologica, 1926 – Taylor & Francis

Surgical management of the redundant transposed colon by M Schein, AA Conlan… – … journal of surgery, 1990 –

Redundant colon by H Gauss – Archives of Surgery, 1927 –