Intestinal pseudo-obstruction

Definition

Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition in which there are symptoms of blockage of the intestine (bowels) without any physical blockage.

Causes

In intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the intestine is unable to contract and push food, stool, and air through the digestive tract. The disorder most often affects the small intestine, but can also occur in the large intestine.

The condition may start suddenly or be a chronic or long-term problem. It is most common in children and older people. The cause of the problem is often unknown.

Risk factors include:

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

During a physical exam, the health care provider will most often see abdominal bloating.

Tests include:

Treatment

The following treatments may be tried:

In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most cases of acute pseudo-obstruction get better in a few days with treatment. In chronic forms of the disease, symptoms can come back and get worse over many years.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have abdominal pain that does not go away or other symptoms of this disorder.


Review Date: 4/7/2018
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.