What Does a Nonspecific Bowel Gas Pattern Mean?

Reviewed on 8/30/2022

Abdominal X-ray
An abdominal X-ray result showing a nonspecific bowel gas pattern means the bowel has some gas in it, which can have normal or abnormal causes. Additional testing is usually needed.

A nonspecific bowel gas pattern is a description often seen on a radiology report on an abdominal X-ray and it means the bowel has some gas in it.

  • The reason for the gas is unclear on the X-ray, and it may be normal or abnormal. 
  • Gas is common throughout the gastrointestinal tract and most of the time it is of no clinical significance. 
  • Abdominal X-rays cannot identify all problems. When a doctor sees a radiology report with a “nonspecific bowel gas pattern” it usually means additional testing such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan may be needed to determine the cause of the symptoms.

What Are Symptoms of Nonspecific Bowel Gas Pattern?

A nonspecific bowel gas pattern is a radiologic finding and not a condition in itself, however, when patients present to a physician with certain symptoms, an abdominal X-ray may be ordered. 

Symptoms that may warrant the need for an abdominal X-ray include: 

What Causes Nonspecific Bowel Gas Pattern?

Gas is commonly seen throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Normal causes of a nonspecific bowel gas pattern may include: 

  • Swallowed air
  • Carbonated beverages 
  • Gas-forming bacteria within the colon

Abnormal causes of a nonspecific bowel gas pattern may include: 

  • Gastritis
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Obstruction (either stomach or duodenal)
  • Neurogenic bowel dysfunction
  • Surgical complications
  • Abscess
  • A mass/tumor (often due to scirrhous carcinoma or lymphoma)
  • Diminished or absent wave-like muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract (peristalsis)
  • Volvulus
  • Adynamic ileus 
  • Toxic megacolon 
  • Ischemic colitis

What Is the Treatment for Nonspecific Bowel Gas Pattern?

A nonspecific bowel gas pattern is a radiologic finding, and not a condition in itself, so it does not usually require treatment. If a nonspecific bowel gas pattern is found, it often means additional testing may be needed to determine the cause of the symptoms.

  • If the cause of the nonspecific bowel gas pattern is normal, no treatment is needed. 
  • If the cause of the nonspecific bowel gas pattern is abnormal, treatment varies and depends on the cause. 

QUESTION

Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer

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Reviewed on 8/30/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image source: iStock Images

https://radiologyinplainenglish.com/non-specific-bowel-gas-pattern/

https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=52298