Article provided by the National Digestive Diseases
Intestinal pseudo-obstruction (false blockage) is a condition
that causes symptoms like those of a bowel obstruction
(blockage). But when the intestines are examined, no obstruction
is found. A problem in how the muscles and nerves in the
intestines work causes the symptoms.
Pseudo-obstruction symptoms include cramps, stomach pain,
nausea, vomiting, bloating, fewer bowel movements than usual,
and loose stools. Over time, pseudo-obstruction can cause
bacterial infections, malnutrition, and muscle problems in other
parts of the body. Some people also have bladder problems.
Diseases that affect muscles and nerves, such as lupus
erythematosus, scleroderma, or Parkinson's disease, can cause
symptoms. When a disease causes the symptoms, the condition is
called secondary intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Medications that
affect muscles and nerves such as opiates and antidepressants
might also cause secondary pseudo-obstruction.
To diagnose the condition, the doctor will take a complete
medical history, do a physical exam, and take x rays. The usual
treatments are nutritional support (intravenous feeding) to
prevent malnutrition and antibiotics to treat bacterial
infections. Medication might also be given to treat intestinal
muscle problems. In severe cases, surgery to remove part of the
intestine might be necessary.
For More Information on Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal
Disorders (IFFGD) Inc.
P.O. Box 170864
Milwaukee, WI 53217
Phone: 1-888-964-2001 or (414) 964-1799
Fax: (414) 964-7176