(Adynamic Ileus; Paralytic Ileus; Nonmechanical Bowel Obstruction; Ogilvie Syndrome; Colonic Pseudo-obstruction)
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Ileus is a type of bowel obstruction. It happens when wavelike contractions stop. This is called peristalsis. Peristalsis pushes material along the digestive pathway.
The nerves and muscles of the intestines are not working as they should. Damage to them may be caused by:
Your chances of ileus are higher for:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Some tests will rule out other causes if it’s not clear. You may have:
Ileus may go away on its own within 2 to 3 days. If the cause is known, it will need to be treated.
It can also be treated with:
There is no way to prevent ileus in some cases. If you’re having surgery, your healthcare team will take steps to help lower your chances of it.
American College of Gastroenterology
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Acute intestinal pseud-obstruction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated July 12, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Ileus. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/acute-abdomen-and-surgical-gastroenterology/ileus. Updated January 2017. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Intestinal obstruction and ileus. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/intestinal-obstruction-and-ileus. Updated April 23, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Prevention and management of postoperative ileus. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated April 5, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 08/15/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.