Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Intussusception is a serious problem with the
intestine, or bowel. When intussusception occurs, part of the intestine
collapses into itself. It folds into itself like a collapsible tube--like an
antenna folding up--with one part slipping inside another part. This makes the
intestines not work properly.
Intussusception occurs most commonly in babies
between 5 and 9 months of age. Boy babies are affected twice as often as girl
babies. Sometimes newborn babies, older children and adults have
intussusception, but it's not common in these age groups.
There is no known cause for most cases of
intussusception. Rarely, intussusception is caused by conditions such as
appendicitis or tumors.
How will the
doctor know if my baby has it?
Usually, babies with intussusception vomit and
have stomach pain and bloody stools. Sometimes a baby who has intussusception
also has a fever. However, these things may not always happen. Sometimes the
only clue that something is wrong is that the baby is irritable or doesn't move
around very much.
If your doctor thinks that your baby has
intussusception, a special x-ray called a barium enema will be taken. A
substance called barium is put in the baby's rectum, and several x-rays are
taken. The x-rays will show the doctor whether something is wrong with your
How is it
In many cases, the intussusception is corrected
by the barium enema alone. Antibiotics are usually not needed. Sometimes surgery
is necessary to correct intussusception if the intestine doesn't stop collapsing
Will my baby be
Most babies recover completely from
intussusception, whether or not they have surgery. Occasionally, complications
such as infection can occur if the intussusception is not treated quickly. If
this happens, part of the bowel must be surgically removed.