Monday, March 28, 2016

What is intestinal pseudo-obstruction?


Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction

Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a rare condition with symptoms like those caused by a bowel obstruction, or blockage. But when the intestines are examined, no blockage is found. Instead, the symptoms are due to nerve (visceral neuropathy) or muscle (visceral myopathy) problems that affect the movement of food, fluid, and air through the intestines. The intestines, or bowel, include the small intestine and the large intestine, also called the colon.

Intestinal pseudo-obstruction can occur in people of any age, but it occurs more often in children and older adults. Children can have a long-lasting form of the condition called chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP). CIP in children is usually present at birth.

Learn more here about CIP in children.

In another form of intestinal pseudo-obstruction that mostly affects older adults, the colon becomes enlarged after surgery or illness. This condition is known as acute colonic pseudo-obstruction (ACPO), also called Ogilvie syndrome or acute colonic ileus. ACPO can lead to serious complications and can be life-threatening.

What causes intestinal pseudo-obstruction?

Normally, nerves and muscles work together to produce wavelike contractions that push food through the intestines. In intestinal pseudo-obstruction, nerve or muscle problems prevent normal contractions. As a result, people with the condition have problems with the movement of food, fluid, and air through the intestines.

When the cause of the nerve or muscle problems leading to intestinal pseudo-obstruction is not known, the condition is called primary or idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. If the cause is known, the condition is called secondary intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Causes of secondary intestinal pseudo-obstruction include:

  • abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • diseases that affect muscles and nerves, such as lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and Parkinson's disease
  • infections
  • medications such as opiates and antidepressants that affect muscles and nerves

What are the symptoms of intestinal pseudo-obstruction?

Intestinal pseudo-obstruction symptoms may include cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and constipation. Occasionally, intestinal pseudo-obstruction may cause diarrhea. Over time, the condition can cause bacterial infections, malnutrition, weight loss, and muscle problems in other parts of the body. Some people develop problems with their esophagus, stomach, or bladder.

How is intestinal pseudo-obstruction diagnosed?

To diagnose intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the doctor will take a complete medical history, do a physical exam, and take x rays. The doctor will make sure that symptoms are not due to an intestinal blockage and will look for the cause of the condition, such as an underlying illness. Other testing may be needed, such as manometry to measure the patterns of intestinal contractions.

How is intestinal pseudo-obstruction treated?

People with intestinal pseudo-obstruction often need nutritional support to prevent malnutrition and weight loss. Enteral nutrition provides liquid food through a feeding tube inserted through the nose into the stomach or placed directly into the stomach or small intestine. Some people need intravenous feeding, also called parenteral nutrition, which provides liquid food through a tube placed in a vein.

If intestinal pseudo-obstruction is caused by an illness or medication, the doctor will treat the underlying illness or stop the medication.

Treatment may include medications, such as antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, pain medication, and medication to treat intestinal muscle problems. People with ACPO may need procedures to remove gas from the bowel. In severe cases of intestinal pseudo-obstruction, surgery to remove part of the intestine or other intestinal surgery might be necessary.

Points to Remember

  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition with symptoms like those caused by a bowel obstruction, or blockage. But when the intestines are examined, no blockage is found.
  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is caused by nerve or muscle problems that prevent the intestines from contracting normally to move food, fluid, and air through the intestines.
  • Symptoms may include cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and occasionally diarrhea.
  • Treatment depends on the type and severity of intestinal pseudo-obstruction and may involve nutritional support, medications, surgery, or other procedures.


Last modified on September 15, 2014 at 10:53:00 AM


LeAnne remembers, “He wasn’t gaining weight and then he was losing weight.”

Mike says, “He would eat and swallow but then it would spit right back up, he would not be able to hold anything down so he just was not growing.”

Mike and LeAnne Gunderson were desperate for solutions. Their newborn baby Christopher was born with chronic pseudo obstruction syndrome. It’s a rare condition that paralyzed his stomach and parts of his intestines. He was unable to digest any nutrients or even take water.

“I’d pray every night and not know what the end game was. Not knowing if he was going to die or if he was going to make it or what that looked like,” says Mike. We just had to enjoy the time that we had with him because we didn’t know how long that was going to be.”

LeAnne says, “There was no way to fix it. The only thing they could do was make him grow. The issue was not, ‘How are we going to cure it.’ The issue was, ‘how are we going to keep him alive? How are we going to get nutrition into his body to keep him alive and help him grow?’”

Baby Christopher went through several major surgeries before doctors came up with a permanent solution. They connected a feeding tube directly into his intestines, bypassing his stomach. Then they put a second port into his stomach to pump out bile and saliva.

“It was a really tough time” says LeAnne, “but I always heard this little voice when I’d get upset just whisper in my ear, ‘Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end.’”

The surgery allowed him to lead a normal, active life. But he grew up unable to eat or drink without painful stomach aches and vomiting,

Christopher, now 18 years old remembers his childhood. “I could do everything that everybody else could do but just differently. It was like a normal life for me. I tried food but I just couldn’t swallow it. I had to chew it and spit or I had to drain it out of my top tube at the end of the day.”

LeAnne says, “We just figured it out because we wanted him to live a normal life. We didn’t want him to be, ‘Oh I have these feeding tubes, I can’t do this and that.’ We wanted him to be able to figure out, ‘Yep I have these feeding tubes and it’s good because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be alive and I’m just going to praise God for that and I’m going to figure out ways around to do other things.’”

He wore a backpack that pumped formula into his feeding tube during the day - an IV pole fed him at night. Christopher lived with his condition for 16 years, until one day his family brought him to a healing service led by evangelist Bruce Van Natta.

Christopher says, “During the whole sermon that he was talking, I felt like a pulse in my stomach the whole entire time.”

After the service Bruce gathered Christopher and his family together and prayed for a miracle healing.

Mike says, “I actually think I had my hand on Christopher’s shoulder and it just felt like his whole body was just shaking.”

LeAnne says, “That G tube is vibrating just really super, super fast underneath his T-shirt and I noticed this so I’m looking at it, and I’m watching it and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve never seen it do that before.’ And then that vibration starts to follow the pattern of his intestines. I can see it moving down his stomach down into the second tube which is the J tube and then the J tube started doing it too, and the whole thing is just doing this.”

Christopher says, “I felt just a big shock go through my shoulder and through my stomach and the pulsing. It felt like, like a pounding feeling in my stomach.”

Leanne says, “You just knew what was happening and that he was being healed. I knew when we got out to the parking lot we were standing there like, ‘What just happened?’ It was one of those moments. It was one moment in time that changes everything.”

“What I really feel like is that was God jumpstarting my stomach back up with a shock,” says Christopher.

That night his family went out to dinner and Christopher ate the first full meal of his life - with no complications.

Christopher says, “I just started swallowing more and more and I got a bigger and bigger smile on my face and I had a really good time. It was one of the best days of my life. I just swallowed as much as I could and had the whole plate can and had a nice drink too.”

Christopher has been healed completely and his feeding tube has been removed. Mike and LeAnne say they are thankful for the long journey that brought a miracle healing to their son.

“The harder the journey the better the reward. That’s kind of the way I look at it now is it was a long journey and wow! What a reward.” says Mike.

“God is so good and He is so big and so compassionate and He can heal anything,” says LeAnne. “Nothing is impossible for God. What is impossible for man is not impossible for God. Everything is possible for Him.”

Investigating medical miracles

Top Foods for Easy Digestion By Payal Banka


November 20, 2010

With most of our food laced with artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones and other chemical additives, indigestion is a word used very commonly nowadays. It refers to the feeling of uncomfortable fullness after a meal, burning sensation or pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and bloating — an unpleasant tightness in the stomach. Lack of exercise, and eating a lot of refined, processed and low fiber food only contributes more towards the digestive health problems. It can be a sign of overeating, choosing the wrong foods, or a more serious problem.

Top Foods for Easy Digestion

Common Reasons of Indigestion

Most indigestion is caused by:

  • Irregular meal timing, or long gaps in between meals.
  • Overeating.
  • Excessive intake of spicy foods, fast foods, fried foods, unhygienic foods or aerated beverages.
  • Smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Excessive intake of caffeine (coffee/tea).
  • Peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or duodenal ulcers.
  • Less intake of fluids or water, less sleep, or stress.

Foods that Help in Indigestion

  • Fruits: Fruits have fiber to rescue you from indigestion. Fiber helps move food through the digestive system and automatically stimulates the digestive process. Additionally, fiber can also help prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and other diseases. Here are some fruits that can help:

    • Papaya: Papaya contains the enzyme papain which aids digestion and soothes the stomach. It promotes a healthy acidic enzyme environment by breaking down the proteins.

    • Banana: Being bland, smooth, easily digestible and slightly laxative, bananas are one of the best digestion-friendly food. Banana helps neutralize the over-acidity of the gastric juices and reduces the irritation of the ulcer by coating the lining of the stomach. Pectin, soluble fiber in banana, helps in constipation and diarrhea.

    • Other beneficial fruits include apple, pear and grapes.

  • Fluid: Drink plenty of water, coconut water or buttermilk. These are natural diluters and hence help in relieving acidic symptoms. Also, when you drink enough water, waste particles dissolved in water passes through the digestive tract smoothly, helping you have your normal daily bowel movement.

  • Coriander (dhania): Apart from being an excellent appetizer, coriander helps strengthen the stomach, relieve flatulence, and increase secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach. One or two teaspoons of coriander juice added to fresh buttermilk along with mint leaves and cumin (jeera), is highly beneficial in treating digestive disorders such as indigestion, nausea, feeling of burning and bloating. Coriander juice can be prepared by boiling dry seeds of coriander and straining the decoction after cooling.

  • Cardamom (elaichi): Cardamom is used chiefly in medicines to relieve flatulence and for strengthening digestion activities. Grounded cardamom mixed with ginger and coriander is an effective remedy for indigestion. Cardamom added in tea also helps in relieving headaches caused due to indigestion.

  • Ginger: Ginger root or ginger oil often added in numerous food preparations as it helps in improving digestion. It is one of the best remedy for stomach upset, stomach ache, indigestion, dyspepsia and flatulence.

  • Cumin (jeera): Soaking cumin seeds (jeera) in water overnight and consuming the water is beneficial while having acidity. It also helps in relieving bloated feeling.

  • Carom (ajwain): Take 1/2 teaspoon of carom (ajwain) and add 2 pinch of rock salt. Chew it and then gulp it with water. This helps instantly in relieving the symptoms of stomach aches and stomach upsets.

  • Lemon: Lemon juice also aids the digestion process. Lemon juice in water (not in warm water) with honey is a good remedy if you are suffering from indigestion and burning. You can also add a few lemon drops on your dish to aid digestion.

  • Mint leaves (pudina): Chewing on these leaves is also beneficial for any stomach problems. Menthol, a volatile substance contained in the essential oil of mint, has a direct antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscle of the digestive tract. The ability to calm cramping stomach muscles makes it a superb treatment for reliving symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, stomachache and irritable bowel syndrome. It also helps the muscles around the intestines to relax thereby promoting less gas production and better overall digestion.

  • Basil leaves (tulsi): Basil essential oil is also used as a digestive tonic. It is used for treating indigestion, constipation, stomach cramps and flatulence as it has carminative properties. It provides immediate relief from the gas in your stomach and intestines.

Tips to Prevent Heartburn and Indigestion

Here are a few tips to prevent the problem of heartburn and indigestion:

  • Eat small and frequent meals. If the stomach is empty for a longer period, the acid starts acting on the stomach walls, causing burning sensation. A prolonged effect may lead to stomach ulcers and may cause them to bleed. Hence eating a small snack every two to three hours helps in getting rid of the excess acid.

  • Avoid excessive intake of fast foods, fried items and very spicy food, as well as aerated beverages, tea and coffee. All these items provoke an increased acid response, hence causing flatulence as well as acidity. This might also lead to stomach ache and over all indigestion.

  • Chew your food thoroughly and avoid overeating. The digestion of carbohydrate actually begins in your mouth (thanks to an enzyme produced by your saliva), and then continues in your small intestine.

  • Refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol. They slow down your metabolism and lead to malnutrition, causing stress on the body. Additionally, the nicotine content of cigarettes leads to increased acid production.

  • Take a good night sleep and give good rest to your mind and body. Use relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. Don't let stress take over you as stress is the key of unnumbered health problems and malnutrition.