Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition in which there are symptoms of intestinal blockage without any physical blockage.
In primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the small or large intestines lose their ability to contract and push food, stool, and air through the gastrointestinal tract.
The condition can occur suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). It may occur at any age, but is most common in children and the elderly. Because the cause is unknown, 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 usually 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 return and worsen for many years.
Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain 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: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Joshua Kunin, MD, Consulting Colorectal Surgeon, Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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