An ileus is a condition within which the intestine doesn’t work normally Normally, the intestine’s muscles squeeze to maneuver air, fluid, and food through it. But in an ileus, the intestine has a problem moving the air, fluid, and food along in an organized way. These things then get stuck in the intestine and cause symptoms. A postoperative ileus is when an ileus happens after surgery. It can happen in children or adults.
Different things can cause a postoperative ileus, including:
• A long, major, or complicated surgery within the belly or pelvis area
• A collection of blood within the belly or tissue within the region behind the intestines called the “retroperitoneum”
• Certain medicines, especially strong pain medicines
• Infection, like infections of the intestine or within the belly
• Not enough blood flow to the intestines
The most common symptoms are:
• Belly pain
• Belly swelling and bloating
• Nausea and vomiting
• Not having the ability to have a bowel movement or pass gas
Probably. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. To find out what’s causing your ileus, he or she is going to probably do blood tests and imaging tests. Imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.
The imaging tests can include an X-ray, CT scan, or a series of X-rays called a “GI series.” For the CT scan and GI series, you may drink a liquid called “contrast” beforehand. The contrast will show au fait the CT scan or X-rays.
Treatment depends on your symptoms and what’s causing your ileus. All people with an ileus are treated within the hospital.
To treat your symptoms and help you feel better, your doctor can:
• Give you fluids and nutrition through a skinny tube that goes into a vein, called an “IV”
• Put a thin tube called a “nasogastric tube” in your nose, down your esophagus, and into your stomach – The tube can suck up the fluid and air in your stomach. This can make your stomach feel better and help keep you from vomiting.
• Give you medicine to assist your intestine start working normally again
Most people with a postoperative ileus improve during a few days. Chewing gum and getting out of bed to walk might help you get better faster.
If a medicine causes your ileus, your doctor will stop that medicine. He or she is going to also treat the other condition causing your ileus, if the condition will be treated.
People with an ileus don’t usually need surgery. But they might if their problem is absolutely because the intestines are blocked.