Symptoms Associated With Ileus: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

The intestine is approximately 28 feet in length. They facilitate digestion by moving in a wave-like fashion – known as peristalsis; these muscular contractions propel the food forwards. Conversely, in case something hampers or decelerates the peristalsis, the functioning of the entire GI tract gets affected.

Ileus is a lack of movement at some place in the intestines which causes a build-up and blockage of food.

An ileus results in intestinal obstruction. Consequently, no food, liquids or gas can get through.

Left untreated, an ileus can perforate the bowels. Consequently, the contents of the bowels leak into areas the body cavity. Prompt treatment is vital.

Symptoms associated with Ileus:

  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Bloated belly
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation

What Are The Causes Of Ileus?

  • The commonest cause is post surgery, since people are usually prescribed medications which can decelerate intestinal motility. As a result, there will be little or no movement of food through the intestines.
  • Medications which are known to trigger an ileus are – tricyclic anti-depressants, morphine and oxycodone.
  • Diverticulitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer of the intestine is another cause.
  • Intussusception is the most common cause for ileus in children.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Ileus

It is very crucial that the condition gets diagnosed quickly and that prompt treatment-management is started.

  • X-ray: Will reveal trapped gas and obstruction.
  • CT scan: Provides comprehensive images to help make out the area where the ileus is situated.
  • Ultrasound: This technique is employed to spot ileus in children.
  • Barium enema: Your doctor may use this method for diagnosing as well.

Treatment options for Ileus:

  • When you suffer from diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease your doctor will advise a low fibre diet. This will reduce the bulky stool, and make it easier to pass. On the other hand, if this fails, surgery intervention is necessary.
  • Proper nutrition is very vital to avert malnutrition and weight loss, as well as provide you with the essential nutrients. This is done via tube feeding. Feeding is done through an intravenous or a tube which goes from the nose to the stomach. The feeding tube can be custom-mixed to make available the precise quantity of calories, fats, vitamins, and minerals. As a result, the bowel gets time to rest whilst the cause of the condition can be managed.
  • Antibiotics will be prescribed if infection is the cause.
  • Your physician may also prescribe medicines to kindle peristalsis.
  • Homeopathic drugs such as – Plumbum Metallicum and Opium have proved to be really efficacious in managing cases of ileus. You should confer with a consulting homeopath and understand the correct dosage.
  • A complete obstruction is a medical emergency. Treatment depends on your general health. Your surgeon may insert a stent to keep the intestine patent. Generally, food will start passing once the stent has been inserted. Surgery to get rid of the obstruction or the damaged intestine will still be required.
  • Treatment for a paralytic ileus begins by recognizing the cause. In case a prescribed drug is the cause, your health care provider will prescribe another medication to stimulate motility. You could also discontinue the medication that is causing the trouble; however, discuss with your doctor first.