During a normal, healthy digestive process, food passes through the stomach and into the small intestine. It then enters the large intestine or the colon, where the organ absorbs water and eliminates undigested food. However, if a person has blind loop syndrome, food bypasses the small intestine, which forms a loop, preventing normal digestion. As a result, waste products remain in the digestive tract longer, leading to increased levels of bacteria.
Most people with blind loop syndrome, also called stasis syndrome or stagnant loop syndrome, experience a combination of symptoms including fever and joint pain. These symptoms often last from two to four weeks and recur every four to six weeks. Skin rashes, leg edema, and muscle aches are also common, as is loss of appetite. When the individual does eat, he or she may experience an uncomfortable feeling of fullness afterward. Many people also complain of bloating, nausea, persistent diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Stool may have a pale and oily appearance. Due in part to some of these symptoms, one of the primary signs of blind loop syndrome is rapid, unintentional weight loss. If the symptoms are not addressed, people may exhibit signs of malnutrition as well.
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