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What are some causes and treatments for ileus?

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Quick Answer

Ileus is caused by a variety of conditions, from cancer to a side effect of some medications, and treatment options include eliminating food and drink and taking medications to stimulate a bowel movement, according to Healthline. Many ileus cases clear up on their own with physical activity.

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Full Answer

Ileus is caused by the colon's inability to pump food through the digestive system, explains Healthline. Causes include Parkinson's disease, a twisted colon, kidney disease and colon cancer. Some pain medications and antidepressants can lead to ileus. Additional culprits include abdominal infection, inflammation, and improper nerve or muscle function after surgery.

Physicians treat ileus by giving patients medication or enemas to stimulate a bowel movement, states Heatlhline. Since the patient isn't allowed food or drink, the doctor usually orders an IV and electrolytes to keep the patient hydrated. Medical professionals monitor the bowels for signs that the colon is pumping again. A bowel movement or passing gas are indicators that the intestines are performing normally.

Untreated ileus can be deadly, warns Healthline. The condition can lead to infection and tissue death that can be life-threatening. Individuals with a painful abdomen, bloating, cramping, diarrhea or the inability to have a bowel movement should seek medical help, especially if they are at risk for ileus. At-risk patients include those with Crohn's disease, abdominal cancer or those who have recently had abdominal surgery.

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