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Ileus (adynamic or paralytic ileus) is a type of bowel obstruction that occurs when the intestines stop moving normally even though there is nothing blocking them. This prevents the digestion of food and the movement of waste out of the body.
Ileus can also be called a nonmechanical bowel obstruction.
Ileus most commonly occurs after abdominal surgery, though it has many other possible causes. Symptoms of adynamic ileus include:
This combination of symptoms requires immediate medical evaluation.
Treatment for ileus begins with intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes. This treatment helps to keep blood pressure at a normal level and to provide some nutrition. A tube placed in the nose and down into the stomach removes digestive fluids, which helps relieve and prevent pain and bloating.
When ileus occurs after surgery, the intestines usually move normally after about 1 to 3 days.
Last Revised: April 27, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
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