Home > Ask Our Experts > What is Thickening of the Bowel?

What is Thickening of the Bowel?

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 17 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Bowel Thickening Thickening Of The Colon

Q.Can you explain what thickening of the bowel is?

(Mrs Sharon Mitchell, 3 October 2008)

A.

Bowel thickening, also called thickening of the colon wall, is a medical term used to describe the swelling, widening, or hardening of the tissue and cells that make up the bowel wall. This condition results from inflammation of the tissues which leads to the narrowing of the bowel.

The tissue of the bowel wall is usually very flexible and thin, which allows it to contract and move in order to place pressure on waste in an attempt to dispel the waste from the body. If the tissue becomes thick or hardens the colon wall is unable to move or contract as freely thus causing a slow down in the waste removal system.

There are many different illnesses, conditions, diseases, and disorders that may lead to bowel wall thickening. Some of these conditions include Crohn's Disease, colon cancer, colitis, and systemic sclerosis. These conditions can lead to colon wall thickening because of the inflammation they produce in the tissue of the bowel.

When any tissue is exposed to infection or irritation inflammation occurs. Inflammation is the term used to describe the swelling of affected tissue. This swelling can lead to permanent damage such as scarring it if is left untreated for long periods of time. In diseases such as Crohn's the entire digestive tract can become inflamed resulting in bouts of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools. If the inflammation that affects the bowels is left untreated the tissue there eventually hardens and becomes thickened with scars once the damage becomes too severe.

While this bowel wall thickening can cause some symptoms, such as pain during bowel movements, bloody stools, constipation, and abdominal pain, most individuals are diagnosed with bowel wall thickening when undergoing an abdominal scan or barium x-ray for the diagnosis of Crohn's disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

If the condition of bowel thickening is caught early enough in its development the damage can sometimes be reversed through the treatment of the main disease and the reduction of inflammation. However, if the colon thickening is advanced and interferes with normal bowel function and the dispelling of waste from the body surgery may be necessary to remove portions of the affected bowel.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I.Was. Diagnosed with colon wall thickening on a ft scan what do I do?
Will - 17-Apr-17 @ 4:11 PM
I have thickened descending colon when i diagnosed by ultra sound .i have symptom of burning of my stomach the whole area .so what shall i do?
etalem - 9-Mar-17 @ 3:22 PM
hi Sir I have got my Stomach Ultrasound done Today in which the report is " Mild Oedema of wall of colon in noted" so I would like you to please tell me that what actually it is and also please suggest me the proper treatment of it. Regards Rajeev
Babboo - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:04 AM
I have thickening of the sigmoid colon and have chronic constipation does anyone know what treatment is for thickening of the walls where you cannot go to the toilet.
chriss - 3-Oct-16 @ 10:19 AM
Rightside pain ct shows moderste inflammatory changes involving ascending colon with asymmetric wall thicking and pericolonic stranding additional mild wall thicking involving the rectosigmold colon what does this mean
Bella - 29-Sep-16 @ 6:05 PM
Maximune01 - Your Question:
I was just diagnosed with asymmetrical degree of thickening in my colon.not sure what that means. Does it mean I will end up with colostomy bag? I did have emergency colon resection in 2008. Didn't require a colostomy bag. They are scheduling an appointment with my surgeon to see what's what. Anything I should be prepared tonhear?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot give a potential diagnosis as it is beyond our remit as a basic advisory service. Until you see your surgeon, neither would your GP be able to do this as all depends upon what your consultant recommends.
TummyTrouble - 14-Sep-16 @ 2:11 PM
I was just diagnosed with asymmetrical degree of thickening in my colon.not sure what that means. Does it mean I will end up with colostomy bag? I did have emergency colon resection in 2008. Didn't require a colostomy bag. They are scheduling an appointment with my surgeon to see what's what. Anything I should be prepared tonhear?
Maximune01 - 13-Sep-16 @ 10:52 PM
Long segment mild circumferential wall thickening involving the terminal ileum lleo caecal junction,caecum and ascending colon till the hepatic flexure-like inflamatory pathology.... This is my ct scan report,I am suffering from stomach problems like frequent going to toilet, many kind of another problems ,immunity is very poor.
Arun txn - 1-Sep-16 @ 10:58 AM
I had pain in my side ,went to Dr order CT scan .now I have to have a colomesty ,I had one3 yrs ago.
Tuder - 29-Jul-16 @ 9:05 PM
I recently had a CT scan that showed a malrotation with a slight thickening at the end of my bowel. I also had some fat deposits in my liver and some probable benign cysts in my kidney. I had been scheduled for a routine colonoscopy three weeks from now. the only communication I have recieved is a call from my gastro's nurse to pick up a labI slip for labs and was givenprescriptions for flagyl and cipro in case this all is an infection. Since then, (2 weeks) I have had relentless nausea, I think from flagyl, lack of appetite, cramping and stool that comes out formed but breaks apart in toilet. Do these symptoms sound consistent wit an infection? Chrons was mentioned also. I have sjogrens syndrome as well so it could be autoimmune.
Carolinab603 - 15-May-16 @ 6:54 PM
I8urcookie - Your Question:
I too suffered many years of back and forth between doctors and scans and medicines etc. It is horrible to want and pray and beg for a correct diagnosis! Plus it's nice to have validation for all that you have been suffering through! Just wanted to throw this out there in case it might help! My crohn's went misdiagnosed for so long simply because most doctors do not run the scope into the illieum! My gyno performed a laproscope and just on the off chance went up a little farther and my illieum was dark red and three times normal size! Finally it was found! Check to make sure they look there during your scopes!

Our Response:
Many thanks for this information, I'm sure it will be useful to our readers.
TummyTrouble - 23-Feb-16 @ 3:00 PM
I too suffered many years of back and forth between doctors and scans and medicines etc. It is horrible to want and pray and beg for a correct diagnosis! Plus it's nice to have validation for all that you have been suffering through! Just wanted to throw this out there in case it might help! My crohn's went misdiagnosed for so long simply because most doctors do not run the scope into the illieum! My gyno performed a laproscope and just on the off chance went up a little farther and my illieum was dark red and three times normal size! Finally it was found! Check to make sure they look there during your scopes!
I8urcookie - 23-Feb-16 @ 4:48 AM
I recently had ct scan done because of constant pelvic pain. I feel tons of pressure and it feels like my ovarys will explode. My gyno said to see a gi specialist because ct scan showed my colon is thickened. And that could be causing my female pain. I don't see how because I use bathroom just fine no constipation no diarrhea no blood ever. No stomach cramps or stomach pain just extreme pain right on my ovarys. I'm getting very discouraged cause of all this.Plus still working 8hours a day on my feet and being in pain. I don't understand how your female parts can be affected by your colon
D - 17-Feb-16 @ 4:16 PM
I too have had problems for almost 3 years,been wrongly diagnosed with crohns disease,and now have a lump,thickening and inflammation,and a twisted bowel.awaiting a new diagnosis and treatment plan.worried sick
Sam - 11-Feb-16 @ 6:49 PM
i have colon wall thickness of about 3mm
devanand - 24-Jan-16 @ 3:05 AM
Jess - Your Question:
Hi I am new to the Internet world but I am reaching out bc I do not know anyone personally that is going through what I have been going through for the last nine years. I have been misdiagnosed THREE TIMES.First I was told I have Crone's disease then a year later was told I have ulcerative colitis then was to about another year later that I was told it's colitis with ulceration. So it's really been EXTREMELY frustrating with all the back n forth and not REALLY knowing for sure what is going on in my body. Anyway I went to the hospital yesterday because of the pain in my back hips n down my legs.although that is everyday pain for me the amount of blood that came from my bottom wasn't! I normally do have blood in my stool.This was A LOT of blood n was the third time in two days.I was worried!. I had a CT Scan done.I figured it would be normal bc I had myself convinced that it was probably just a bleeding ulcer.after the results were in the doctor said I had narrowing in my colon caused by either thickening of the colon walls due to chronic inflammation or in the opinion of the radiologist a TUMOR.So NOW I am SCARED!. Anyone have anything similar happen to them? Or does anyone have advice? I would be greatly appreciative!!

Our Response:
Obviously waiting for the results is the difficult part and can make a person anxious and afraid. However, I'm afraid we cannot give medical advice due to the fact it would be groundless without examination. Plus, other people on this forum may have the same or similar symptoms but a completely different diagnosis. Having the CT scan means once you have the correct diagnosis, you can begin to receive the specific treatment you need to help you back on the road to recovery.
TummyTrouble - 4-Jan-16 @ 12:11 PM
Hi I am new to the Internet world but I am reaching out bc I do not know anyone personally that is going through what I have been going through for the last nine years....I have been misdiagnosed THREE TIMES.....First I was told I have Crone's disease then a year later was told I have ulcerative colitis then was to about another year later that I was told it's colitis with ulceration.... So it's really been EXTREMELY frustrating with all the back n forth and not REALLY knowing for sure what is going on in my body. Anyway I went to the hospital yesterday because of the pain in my back hips n down my legs.....although that is everyday pain for me the amount of blood that came from my bottom wasn't! I normally do have blood in my stool....This was A LOT of blood n was the third time in two days...I was worried!..... I had a CT Scan done....I figured it would be normal bc I had myself convinced that it was probably just a bleeding ulcer.....after the results were in the doctor said I had narrowing in my colon caused by either thickening of the colon walls due to chronic inflammation or in the opinion of the radiologist a TUMOR....So NOW I am SCARED!... Anyone have anything similar happen to them? Or does anyone have advice? I would be greatly appreciative!!
Jess - 3-Jan-16 @ 3:30 PM
I e got divercerlitus and also got ticking of my bowel hoping to have it removed I dnt no wat it is until I see hom on 19th x
caz - 7-Oct-15 @ 10:54 AM
@janee - I don't know if you drink alcohol, but stopping drinking worked for me; wine, beer and fizz. The doctor told me to avoid certain foods, but didn't really mention alcohol. But once I figured it out and stopped, then symptoms cleared in days. Worth a try perhaps?
Ali - 29-Sep-15 @ 11:07 AM
I have been diagnosed thickening of my bowel I also have derverticulitus so confused I knew about the derverticulitus which is thinning v of the intestines and leads to pouches. Most days I'm in lain whatever I eat mainly under my rib cage to right top of stomach. I have avoided all foods I should do nothing works have cramps lower stomach to. I'm never constipated. However suffer from sudden diarrhoea. Don't believe overflow therefore as never constipated. Thinking I may have Chones disease should I ask for test is it difficult to diagnose I'm fed up being gobbled off re pain. I have had endoscopy down my throat it's clear and yet they put me on Omzaprazole I havnt got acid reflux and it NUST vs e elads of side affects. I stopped them. I have a mal heitus hernier and. the constant didn't tell e CT scan 18 months ago I asked why not told I made a complaint as that could been causing my pain. I'm. ow under a different consultant the CT scan shows thickening of my bowel I asked my GP why they not said about my heitus herbier I'm waiting g Constantine she's on holiday. I WANR to know if bigger As you can see I been eased around for all I know it could be a simple fest see if I'm! allergicto gluten or have celiac disease @!
janee - 28-Sep-15 @ 8:48 AM
at the hepatic flexure there is an approximate 7cm segment of moderate bowel wall thickening. there is thickening of the terminal ileum. there is prominence of the vasa recta in the pelvic mesentery just above the terminal ileum and small volume nodes are noted in the caecal mesentery in the right side the pelvis.this is what my ct scans says.I have a lot of days where im constipated and can barely go to the loo. I have a lot of discomfort in my right side of belly and stinging pain in the pelvis. my pee test also says I have a lot of blood in it.what do you think this could be.
none - 22-Apr-15 @ 2:41 PM
@atawhai - he needs to go to his GP immediately to get checked out, especially if there is blood in his faeces.
TummyTrouble - 16-Apr-15 @ 12:59 PM
hello I got a friend dats has tummy pains hes had it 4 2 weeks now n hes also pooing blood wot is da course of it.please get bk 2 me
atawhai - 14-Apr-15 @ 10:48 PM
@bobby - I'm afraid you would have to visit your GP as we are unable to give medical advice.
TummyTrouble - 4-Feb-15 @ 12:04 PM
I have thinking on by colon can any think be donget cramp down legs and and cramps in by low tummy and back they very pain full
betty - 2-Feb-15 @ 11:54 PM
i have that thickening of bowel get loads pains cramps down by legs and pain tummy pain in by back they very pain full pain killers dont last long they wake me up all the time
bobby12 - 29-Nov-14 @ 10:05 PM
Do any one of you have fibromyalgia?
Renee White - 12-Aug-14 @ 10:05 PM
i am concerned about thicking of the bowel wall..via cat scan...just worried over it...
carrie - 26-Feb-14 @ 2:11 AM
I developed a pain in my lower stomach. My GP dvised me to limit my food intake to liquid diet for aweek and see what happens. I still have pain and cramps and burping.Luckily I have appointment with a stomach specialist who ordered a CT scan which reveled a thickening lower bowel on the lower right side of my somach. Now he wants me to have endoskopy. Plese let me wht it means thickening lower bowell and what is prognosis? Yours Truly, Irene Walters
Irochka - 7-Sep-12 @ 8:38 PM
What is thickend bowel in rt hypochondrium and what is its treatment
Patient - 5-Jul-12 @ 6:58 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TummyTrouble website. Please read our Disclaimer.