Visceroptosis (or enteroptosis) is a prolapse or a sinking of the abdominalviscera (internal organs) below their natural position. Any or all of the organs may be displaced downward. When the intestines are involved, the condition is known as enteroptosis; when the stomach is found below its normal position, the term gastroptosis is used. The disease exists in all degrees of severity and may give rise to no symptoms whatsoever. Generally, however, there is loss of appetite, heartburn, nervous indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea, abdominal distention, headache, vertigo, emaciation, and loss of sleep. Any or all of these symptoms may be present. The condition is brought about by loss of muscular tone, particularly of the abdominal muscles, with relaxation of the ligaments which hold the viscera in place. In women, tightlacing has been held to be a frequent cause. The symptoms may be alleviated by supporting the organs with a properly applied bandage, or other similar device. Rest in bed, attention to diet, hygiene, exercise, and general muscular upbuilding will cure the majority of cases. In others operation may become necessary. Visceroptosis is a known risk factor for the development of Superior mesenteric artery syndrome.
Dr. Frantz Glénard (1848-1920)
Visceroptosis is also known as splanchnoptosis, abdominal ptosis, and Glénard's disease (after French physician Frantz Glénard [1848–1920]).
Glénard's test – The examiner, standing behind the patient, places his arms around the patient, so that his hands meet in front of the patient's abdomen; he squeezes and raises the viscera and then allows them to fall suddenly. If the patient feels relieved by the raising pressure and experiences distress on the release, the condition is probably one of splanchnoptosis. Also called girdle test.
Glénard's theory – The theory that abdominal ptosis is a nutritional disease with atrophy and prolapse of the intestine.
Stiller's theory – The theory that gastroptosis is due to universal asthenia characterized by weakness and laxity of the viscera.