Stercoral Colitis

Stercoral colitis is a condition that affects the large intestine due to the accumulation of hardened stool, known as fecalomas. This buildup can lead to serious complications and requires immediate medical attention. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of stercoral colitis, focusing on its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and the role of imaging techniques in its identification.

What is Stercoral Colitis?

Imagine your large intestine as a passageway for waste. When stool becomes too dry and hard, it can accumulate and form lumps called fecalomas. Stercoral colitis occurs when these fecalomas put excessive pressure on the intestinal wall, leading to inflammation and damage.

Causes of Stercoral Colitis:

The primary cause of stercoral colitis is chronic constipation. Conditions that contribute to constipation, such as medications, a low-fiber diet, dehydration, or neurological disorders affecting bowel movements, can increase the risk of stercoral colitis.

Recognizing Symptoms:

Identifying stercoral colitis symptoms is crucial for prompt treatment. People affected may experience severe abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, rectal bleeding, or even signs of systemic infection such as fever. These symptoms indicate a need for immediate medical evaluation.

Role of Imaging in Diagnosis:

Imaging techniques play a pivotal role in diagnosing stercoral colitis. The following methods are commonly employed by healthcare professionals:

  1. CT Scans: Computed Tomography (CT) scans provide detailed images of the colon. They help identify the impacted stool and the extent of inflammation or damage to the intestinal wall.
  2. X-Rays: Abdominal X-rays can reveal the presence of fecalomas in the colon, aiding in diagnosis.
  3. MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is less commonly used but may offer additional information in certain cases, especially when concerns about radiation exposure exist.

Understanding CT Findings:

CT scans are the go-to imaging modality for stercoral colitis diagnosis. They exhibit specific findings, such as:

  • Fecalomas: CT images often show large masses of densely packed stool.
  • Colonic Wall Thickening: Inflammation caused by pressure from fecalomas can lead to thickening of the intestinal wall, visible on CT scans.
  • Pericolic Fat Stranding: This refers to the inflammation and swelling of fat tissue surrounding the colon, indicating possible complications.

Importance of Timely Diagnosis:

Timely identification of stercoral colitis is crucial to prevent severe complications like perforation (tearing) of the colon, which can lead to life-threatening infections and necessitate emergency surgery. Imaging techniques help physicians make accurate and prompt diagnoses, guiding appropriate treatment plans.

Treatment Options:

Upon diagnosis, treatment aims to relieve the blockage, reduce inflammation, and manage symptoms. Doctors might recommend:

  • Enemas or Laxatives: To soften and clear impacted stool.
  • Fluids and High-Fiber Diet: To regulate bowel movements and prevent future constipation.
  • Pain Management: Medications to alleviate abdominal pain.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the impacted stool or repair any perforation.


Stercoral colitis, arising from the accumulation of hardened stool.  Stercoral colitis demands timely intervention. Imaging techniques like CT scans play a pivotal role in its diagnosis, enabling healthcare professionals to initiate appropriate treatment promptly. Recognizing symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention are key in managing this condition effectively and preventing potential complications.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

Similar Posts