Intususception is a condition characterized by sliding of segment of intestine into an adjacent part of intestine which results in intestinal obstruction. It is sometimes also called as telescoping due to the way collapsible telescope folds. It usually occurs in small intestine.

Causes and risk factors

Intususception mostly occurs in children below the age of 3. The exact cause is not known. The sliding of part of intestine into another part is caused due to some abnormal growth such as polyp or tumour. This is called a lead point. The normal peristaltic movements pull this lead point and lining of the intestine in the bowel ahead of it. In adults cause of Intususception include adhesions, surgical scars, haematoma or inflammatory bowel disease.

Clinical presentation

Important presenting symptom is severe abdominal pain. Child may present with loud cry due the pain, drawing his legs towards chest. The pain is intermittent. Patient presents withVomiting. There is feeling of lump in abdomen. Stool is mixed with mucus and blood called as jelly like stools. Patient feels lethargic. Symptoms like fever, diarrhoea, constipation may be present. The condition may lead to bowel gangrene due to lack of blood supply to the part of intestine.


Medical history by the patient and Clinical examination by the doctor helps in diagnosis. Imaging studies such as an ultrasound examination of abdomen or CT scan is recommended. Barium enema may be useful for further evaluation.


Emergency care and immediate hospitalisation is needed to treat Intususception. Nutrition by intravenous route or Ryle’s tube is required and care is taken to avoid shock. A barium enema is a diagnostic procedure as well as treatment. Surgical correction is necessary if above procedure fails. Complications like gangrene can occur in the bowel if treatment is delayed.

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