Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition in which there are symptoms of intestinal blockage without any physical blockage.
In primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the intestine is unable to contract and push food, stool, and air through the gastrointestinal tract. The disorder most often affects the small intestine, but can also occur in the large intestine.
The condition may come on suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). It is most common in children and the elderly. The cause of the problem is unknown. Therefore, it is also called idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Idiopathic means occurring without a known reason.
Risk factors include:
During a physical exam, the health care provider will most often see abdominal bloating.
In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
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.
Call your health care provider if you have abdominal pain that does not go away or other symptoms of this disorder.
Primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Acute colonic ileus; Colonic pseudo-obstruction; Idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Ogilvie's syndrome; Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
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Updated by: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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