Primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Acute colonic ileus; Colonic pseudo-obstruction; Idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Ogilvie syndrome; Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Paralytic ileus - pseudo-obstruction
Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition in which there are symptoms of blockage of the intestine (bowels) without any physical blockage.
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:
During a physical exam, the health care provider will most often see abdominal bloating.
The following treatments may be tried:
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.
Complications may include:
Contact your provider if you have abdominal pain that does not go away or other symptoms of this disorder.
Camilleri M. Disorders of gastrointestinal motility. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 127.
Rayner CK, Hughes PA. Small intestinal motor and sensory function and dysfunction. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 99.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/4/2022
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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