Intussusception is more common in children less than 12 months old. It is also more common in males. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Having a health problem that can trigger intussusception
Abdominal trauma or surgery
Bacterial and parasitic infections
Rotavirus vaccine (uncommon)
Severe belly pain that may cause a child to pull his or her knees up to chest
Vomiting, often yellow or green in color
Stools mixed with mucus and blood
Lack of alertness
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be taken of your child's belly to confirm the diagnosis. This may be done with ultrasound.
Intussusception is an emergency that must be treated right away to avoid severe problems. The goal of treatment is to unblock the intestine so that it can work the way it should. This may be done with:
A small, soft tube in the rectum that delivers air or a solution with contrast material to unblock the intestine
Surgery to release the trapped part of the intestine and remove any tissue damage
There are no guidelines for preventing intussusception.
Abdominal pain in infants. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/Pages/Abdominal-Pains-in-Infants.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed September 21, 2017.
Edwards EA, Pigg N, et al. Intussusception: past, present and future. Pediatr Radiol. 2017 Aug;47(9):1101-1108.
Intussusception. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/intussusception.html. Updated January 4, 2018. Accessed January 10, 2020.
Questions and answers about intussusception. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/rotavirus/about-intussusception.html. Updated January 27, 2017. Accessed January 10, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/2/2020
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