In primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the intestine is unable to contract and push food, stool, and air through the gastrointestinal tract. The disorder most often affects the small intestine, but can also occur in the large intestine.
The condition may come on suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). It is most common in children and the elderly. The cause of the problem is unknown. Therefore, it is also called idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Idiopathic means occurring without a known reason.
Call your health care provider if you have abdominal pain that does not go away or other symptoms of this disorder.
Andrews JM, Blackshaw LA. Small intestinal motor and sensory function and dysfunction. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 97.
Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.