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Megacolon

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Megacolon is the stretching and widening of your colon. Bowel movements build up in your colon instead of passing through to your rectum. Megacolon can be caused by a genetic condition. You may be born without the nerves in your colon that give you the urge to have a bowel movement. Megacolon can also be caused by long-term constipation. Megacolon can come back after treatment, so it is important to prevent constipation.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Prevent constipation:

  • Drink plenty of liquids. Liquids help make your bowel movements softer and easier to pass. Ask your healthcare provider which liquids to drink and how much to drink each day.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can help food move through your digestive system properly. Ask which exercises are best for you.
  • Schedule a time each day to have a bowel movement. Try to pass a bowel movement when you first wake up, or half an hour after you eat. This may help you control your bowel movements and know when they will happen. Always try to pass a bowel movement as soon as you have the urge.

Do not add fiber to your diet unless your healthcare provider tells you to:

Too much fiber may cause a tear in your colon, or cause it to stretch further. Ask how much fiber to eat every day.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You continue to have symptoms after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek immediate care if:

  • You have vomiting and fever.
  • You have severe diarrhea.
  • You have rectal bleeding or see blood in your bowel movements.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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