Dilated colon, severe abdominal pain, back pain
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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A potentially life-threatening situation occurs when a patient develops a problem with an internal organ.
Abdominal sepsis due to bowel perforation leads to peritonitis with abdominal bloating, pain, fever, and eventual death if not treated. Any disorder that causes abdominal pain can also cause referred pain to the back.
In older individuals, the problem most likely to lead to this situation is diverticulitis.
Another affliction of older individuals that can cause abdominal pain, bowel dilation, and low back main is mesenteric arterial insufficiency. If not recognized this will cause bowel infarction (dead bowel) as a result of lack of blood flow.
In younger individuals, particularly those with inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, this can be a dreaded complication.
Gynecologic diseases can also be associated with low back pain. They are also capable of causing abdominal pain and bowel distention.
An unusual condition, toxic megacolon, is also associated with severe abdominal pain and can also cause low back discomfort.
Finally, once, as a resident, I saw a patient who had had a prior abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. The repair soemhow caused a fistula to develop in the bowel. This lead to abdominal pain, distention, gastrointestinal bleeding, low back pain, and eventual death.
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