Intussusception is a harmful disorder in which a section of one intestine slides inside another. Food or liquid typically cannot pass through because of this telescoping effect. The affected portion of the intestine also loses its blood supply due to intussusception. This may result in an infection, a death of bowel tissue, or a bowel perforation. Although it can happen anywhere throughout the digestive tract, it frequently happens where the small and large intestines meet.
For children under the age of three, intussusception is the most frequent cause of intestinal obstruction. In most cases, a quick surgery can push the intestines back into place.
Despite the fact that intussusception in adults is uncommon, the majority of cases are brought on by a tumor or another underlying medical problem. Adult patients frequently need surgery to solve the issue.
- Children: A healthy baby’s sudden and extreme crying due to abdominal pain could be the first sign of intussusception. Infants with abdominal pain may cry while pulling their knees towards their chests.
Intussusception pain first comes and goes, typically every 15 to 20 minutes. As time goes on, these excruciating episodes become longer lasting and more frequent. These are some other intussusception symptoms:
- Red jelly-like stool with mixed of blood and mucus, sometimes known as currant jelly stool due to its appearance.
- Abdominal lump.
- Weakness or loss of energy.
Not everyone exhibits every symptom. Some infants don’t seem to be in pain. Some kids don’t pass blood or have lumps in their bellies. And some older kids have pain without any additional symptoms.
- Adults: Adults rarely experience intussusception. Additionally, it is more difficult to recognize because the disorder’s symptoms frequently coincide with those of other conditions. Most common signs and symptoms are:
- Nausea of vomiting
- Intermittent abdominal pain
Emergency medical attention is required in intussusception. As soon as the patient exhibits any of the mentioned symptoms, get them medical attention. Infant signs of abdominal pain include bringing the knees to the chest and screaming.
Intussusception’s exact cause is not known. The majority of the time, a virus causes thickening of the intestinal lining before moving into the intestine below. Some children develop it as a result of a congenital disorder such a polyp or diverticulum.
A lead point, a growth in the bowel, such as polyp or tumor, can induce telescoping in some cases in adults. The normal wavelike contractions of the intestine take hold of this lead point and draw it, along with the lining of the intestine, into the bowel ahead of it.
Intussusception can also be caused by certain medical conditions, including adhesions (which are similar to scar tissue) in the intestines, as well as gastric bypass or other surgeries of the intestinal tract. Additionally, diseases like Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in the intestines, leading to swelling that may result in intussusception.
Intussusception risk factors include:
- Age: Although it can occur at any age, intussusception most frequently affects children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years old.
- Sex: It is more common to affect male than female.
- Congenital irregular intestinal formation: The risk for intussusception increases when the intestinal malrotation occurs when the intestine does not properly develop or rotate.
- Other medical conditions: Intussusception risk can be increased by other medical condition such as cystic fibrosis, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, also known as IgA vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, or Celiac disease.