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What is Intussusception of the Intestines

Intussusception of the intestines is a type of bowel blockage caused by one portion of the intestine collapsing into another part. This is a serious event, and needs emergency treatment as soon as possible. When this happens, the blood supply that is needed in order to support the intestines and colon is cut off. This can happen in babies as young as a few months old, or older. Adults can get the condition as well, but that is not a very common occurrence.

Typical signs and symptoms are, (1) Bloody stools that also contain mucous, (2) a lot of stomach and abdominal pain, and (3) vomiting a lot. The exact causes for this illness is not known for sure, but some doctors have tried to pinpoint it down to the formation of pockets in the intestines which may invoke this type of blockage. Some other research has also stated that the problem may be due to adhesions from a previous surgery. However, that is not absolute either.

Complications can set in the longer this medical emergency goes untreated or undiscovered.One of the problems that can set right in is peritonitis. Peritonitis is really dangerous, and causes skin to be clammy and cold, pulse to be weak, and even a state of shock to the body.

In order to diagnose this medical problem, imaging studies will need to be done which include a CT scan. A CT scan should show where there is an obstruction that is taking place, and ultrasound may show where there has been a perforation that has taken place as well. There is also a study that the gastroenterologist may use to detect other colon and intestinal problems. The barium enema makes the pictures quite clear and doesn’t miss anything very obvious.

After arriving at the hospital for urgent treatment, nurses and doctors should automatically insert intravenous fluids, along with an NG tube which will help the intestinal areas to relax and decompress. If the intestine is discovered to be perforated, then the only medical intervention that will correct that problem is surgery.What the surgeon will have to do in surgery, is to get the intestinal section separated that is collapsed into the colon or whichever area it is trapped into. If the area is not perforated or anything, an enema may undo the blockage.

Unfortunately, an intussusception of the intestines cannot be prevented. This is due to the underlying cause which is many times, not really understood or known why it has happened to begin with.