Ileus

Ileus is a type of non-mechanical bowel obstruction. It results when peristalsis stops. Peristalsis is the wavelike contractions that help push stool through the colon and small bowel.

  • Causes

    Ileus is caused by damage to the nerves controlling the intestines from surgery, infection, low blood flow, trauma, medications or changes in the body chemistry.

  • Definition

    Ileus is a type of non-mechanical bowel obstruction. It results when peristalsis stops. Peristalsis is the wavelike contractions that help push stool through the colon and small bowel.

    Small Bowel Distention
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam and blood tests will be done. A diagnosis of ileus is usually based on symptoms and results of imaging studies.

    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

    • X-rays
    • CT scan
    • Barium enema


    The lining of your colon may need to be examined. This can be done with
    colonoscopy
    .

  • Prevention

    Since ileus is generally the result of injury, surgery, or a medical condition, there is little that can be done to prevent it.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your risk of getting ileus include:

    • Abdominal, joint, or spine surgery
    • Intestinal injury or trauma
    • Severe generalized trauma
    • Abdominal bleeding.

    • Infections, such as:


      • Abdominal infections:
        peritonitis,
        appendicitis, kidney infection, and
        diverticulitis
      • Pneumonia

      • Severe generalized infections such as
        sepsis
    • Heart attack
      or stroke
    • Imbalance of electrolytes, especially potassium and calcium
    • Disorders that affect muscle function
    • Use of certain drugs, such as narcotic pain drugs, high blood pressure medication, or chemotherapy
    • A previous history of ileus

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of ileus may include:

    • Abdominal swelling
    • Pain
    • Vomiting
    • Cramps
    • Hiccups
    • Inability to pass stool or gas

  • Treatment

    If ileus was caused by surgery, stress or trauma it will usually resolve within 48 to 72 hours. In other cases, the disease or abnormality that caused the ileus needs to be treated. This may involve adjusting the dose of
    or stopping
    a medication, treating an infection,
    or replacing electrolytes.

    Other treatments may be used to help ease symptoms. These may include: