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.
The symptoms of intestinal pseudo-obstruction are caused by a problem
in how the muscles and nerves in the intestines work.
Symptoms of pseudo-obstruction 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
with intestinal pseudo-obstruction also have bladder problems.
Some diseases that affect muscles and nerves such as lupus
erythematosus, scleroderma, or Parkinson's disease can cause symptoms
of pseudo-obstruction. 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
To diagnose the condition, the doctor will take a complete
medical history, do a physical exam, and take x rays. The main treatment
is nutritional support (intravenous feeding) to prevent malnutrition and
antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Medicine might also be given
to help with intestinal muscle problems. In severe cases, surgery to remove
part of the intestines might be necessary.
Additional 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
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource
information on digestive diseases for the Combined Health Information
Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by health-related agencies
of the Federal Government. The CHID database located on the World Wide
Web at http://chid.nih.gov/simple/simple.php, provides titles, abstracts,
and availability information for health information and health education
resources. See the results of our CHID research on
"Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction," June 16, 2004.