Intussusception may be a condition which will cause severe belly pain. It happens when one part of the intestine slides into another part of the intestine. Intussusception can happen with either the small or large intestine.
When one part of the intestine slides into another, it causes a blockage. When the intestine is blocked, air, fluid, and food get stuck. They cannot move through the intestine the way they normally would. This causes symptoms.
Symptoms usually start suddenly. They’ll include:
- Severe belly pain – The pain comes in waves. At first, episodes of pain happen about every 15 to 20 minutes, but the episodes get closer over time. The pain usually makes children cry and pull their knees up into their belly.
- Bloody bowel movements
- Being very sleepy and hard to get up
Some children with intussusception have only one or 2 of these symptoms. Other children with alittle intussusception do not have any symptoms, although this is uncommon. Their Gastroenterologist might find that they have an intussusception when the child has a test for one more reason. Children who haven’t any symptoms may not need treatment.
Yes. Call your child’s Gastroenterologist immediately if your child has symptoms of an intussusception.
Yes. The Gastroenterologist will ask about your child’s symptoms and do an exam. He or she’s going to do an imaging test of the belly, like an X-ray or ultrasound. Imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.
The Gastroenterologist will do some things to treat your child’s intussusception.
First, he or she’s going to probably give your child fluids through a thin tube that goes into a vein, called an “IV.”
Then, the Gastroenterologist will fix the intussusception. There are alternative ways to do this. They include:
- A procedure called “nonoperative reduction” – this is also sometimes called an “air enema” or “contrast enema.” it is not surgery. For this procedure, the Gastroenterologist will put a tube into your child’s rectum and push air or a special fluid into the tube. The air or fluid will go into the rectum and through the intestine. Because the air or fluid reaches the intussusception, it makes the stuck intestine slide back out of the other a part of the intestine. To determine what he or she is doing, the Gastroenterologist will do an ultrasound or X-ray during this procedure.
Some children will get a “nasogastric tube.” This is a tube that goes into the nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. The tube will suck up the fluid and air in the stomach. This can help your child feel better and keep him or her from vomiting.
- Surgery – If the intussusception could not be fixed with the non operative reduction, or if the intussusception has caused problems, your child will probably need surgery.