222697 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction

    (Colonic Ileus; Ogilvie’s Syndrome; Acute Colonic Pseudo-obstruction; Acute Nontoxic Megacolon)

    Definition

    In intestinal pseudo-obstruction, foods and liquids are unable to pass through the intestine, causing a build-up of food, fluid, and gas in all or part of the colon. The symptoms of this condition acts like a mechanical bowel obstruction , but no blockage is found when doctors examine the intestine.
    The Intestines
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is caused by problems with the muscles and nerves of the intestine.

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors are thought to increase the risk of developing intestinal pseudo-obstruction:
    • Surgery
    • Abdominal hemorrhage
    • Intestinal ischemia (insufficient blood supply to the digestive system)
    • Inflammation (eg, infection)
    • Trauma
    • Stroke
    • Metabolic problems
    • Fluid overload (eg, congestive heart failure )
    • Other medical illnesses associated with pain
    • Some medications

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of intestinal pseudo-obstruction may include:
    • Cramps
    • Stomach pain
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Bloating
    • Reduction in bowel movements
    • Loose stools
    • Bladder problems

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Other tests may include:
    • Abdominal X-rays —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
    • Abdominal CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

    Nutritional Support

    Intravenous (IV) feeding may be necessary to help prevent malnutrition.

    Medications

    Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent bacterial infections due to your condition. In addition, medications can be used to treat muscle problems in the intestines. Changes in your medications to eliminate some medications that can slow recovery from, or worsen, this condition.

    Surgery

    In severe cases of intestinal pseudo-obstruction, surgery to remove part or your entire intestine may be necessary.

    Endoscopy

    If the colon does not resume normal function after conservative management, the pressure build-up in the colon can be relieved by removing the trapped air with a colonoscope .

    Prevention

    Many cases of intestinal pseudo-obstruction cannot be prevented. But certain measures can be taken after surgery to help avoid the complication of intestinal pseudo-obstruction. These measures include:
    • Early oral feeding
    • Gum chewing
    • Fluid restriction
    • Medications that inhibit opioid receptors
    • Beta-blockers

    RESOURCES

    International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders http://www.iffgd.org

    National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Digestive Health Foundation http://www.cdhf.ca

    Canadian Society of Intestinal Research http://www.badgut.com

    References

    Colonic ileus. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed102.ebscohost.com/Detail.aspx?style=1&docid=/dynamed/369f68330d9559c7852562b600120331 . Accessed June 25, 2007.

    Intestinal pseudo-obstruction. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/intestinalpo/index.htm . Accessed June 25, 2007.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.