Ileus is a type of bowel obstruction. It results when peristalsis stops. Peristalsis is the wavelike contractions that help push stool through the colon and small bowel.
Ileus is a “nonmechanical” bowel obstruction. The other type of obstruction is called a
. Mechanical obstruction occurs when there is a physical blockage of the intestine.
Small Bowel Distention
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
If ileus was caused by surgery, it will usually resolve within 48 to 72 hours. In other cases, the disease that caused the ileus needs to be treated. This may involve adjusting the dose of a medication or replacing electrolytes.
Other treatments may be used to help ease symptoms. These may include:
Patients who suffer from ileus should not be fed until the ileus has resolved.
Nasogastric Suction (NG Tube)
A tube is inserted through the nose and into the stomach to remove digestive fluids. This will help relieve pain and bloating.
Intravenous Fluids and Electrolytes
Fluids are given by vein to avoid dehydration. Electrolytes are given by vein to help the ileus resolve.
There are medications that increase peristalsis (ie, neostigmine, tegaserod) that can be used in selected patients to help ileus resolve.
A flexible tube may be inserted into the colon to relieve pressure.
Rarely, surgery is required to remove the part of the bowels affected.
Since ileus is generally the result of injury, surgery, or a medical condition, there is little that can be done to prevent it.