Definition of an Ileus
Paralytic Ileus, also called bowel obstruction, intestinal volvulus (twisted intestine) and colonic ileus is a mechanical or non-mechanical, partial or complete blockage of the small and/or large intestine. Ileus comes from the Latin word for colic. (“Ileus” Tish Davidson, A. (thinksp) M. and Rebecca J. Frey, PhD The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Laurie J. Fndukian. 4th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011. 6 vols).
Paralytic Ileus can occur at any age, race or gender, but is one of the major causes of intestinal obstruction in infants and children. Infants with cystic fibrosis are more likely to experience meconium ileus (a dark green material in the intestine).
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X-rays, CT scans or ultrasounds will confirm the diagnosis and more invasive tests such as a barium enema or upper GI series may be necessary.
Supervised bed and bowel rest in a hospital may be the treatment. Bowel rest is where nothing is taken in by mouth up to several days or until the bowel starts working. Patients are fed Intravenously with Total Parenteral Nutrition or through the use of a nasogastric tube which is inserted through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach.
Drug therapies that promote intestinal motility (ability of the intestine to move spontaneously), such as cisapride and vasopressin (Pitressin), are sometimes prescribed.
Focusing on prevention, by keeping the bowels healthy through eating a good diet, high in fiber and low in fat is recommended. (MLA 7th Edition) (Davidson, Tish. “Ileus”. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Deirdre S. Blanchfield and Jacqueling L. Longe. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 2002. 1779-1780. Gale Virtual...