Intussusceptions are a disorder when a part of the intestine slides into another intestine, similar to the folding of a telescope. This is a severe disorder but it is extremely rare. When this happens, the intestine becomes blocked which prevents food and fluids from going through. Intussusceptions are more common in children from the age of three months to six years then in adults. If it is treated in time, the patient can recover completely from this disorder.
The symptoms of intussusceptions which affect children may be swollen or lumpy abdomen, occasional pain in abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, dehydration, fever and shallow breathing. The symptoms in adults are similar and they can also experience bloody stool, vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling, and nausea.
The exact cause of intussusceptions is not known. It can be a consequence of some other disorder, infection or some kind of growth in the intestine. In rare cases it can be a consequence of a congenital disorder in which a child’s intestines are not properly developed.
If not treated promptly, intussusceptions can stop the blood supply in the affected intestine which can cause damages to the intestine. The intestine can be torn and if this happens, the patient must be medically treated as soon as possible. The symptoms of this complication are pain and swelling in the abdomen, thirst, fever and low amount of urine. In the most severe cases a child can go into shock. The child may be conscious while in shock and he/she can have cold, pale skin, weak and fast pulse, abdominal breathing can be disturbed and pupils in the eyes may be dilated.
In order to make the diagnosis, the doctor will first do a physical exam and then blood, urine and stool tests. Usually additional tests are performed such as x-ray or ultrasound image of the abdomen, or CT scans. In some cases an internal x-ray image of the colon will be taken. It is performed with air or liquid barium which is put through the rectum. Sometimes this procedure will repair the intussusceptions but in case the patient has torn intestine this procedure will not be performed.
As far as the treatment is concerned, immediate medical attention is the most important. When the patient with intussusceptions comes in a hospital, the doctor will give him/her fluids through a vein or nose. If the intestine is torn, a surgery would be necessary to remove the damaged part of the intestine.