Q:

Is postoperative ileus life threatening?

A:

Quick Answer

Untreated postoperative ileus can lead to life-threatening infections of the intestines or death of intestinal tissue, according to Healthline. However, with timely medical attention at the first sign of blockage, the condition is treatable.

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Full Answer

Ileus is full or partial blockage of the intestines due to a lack of peristalsis, the involuntary, wave-like muscle contractions that move waste material through the intestinal tract. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and the inability to produce a bowel movement, states Healthline.

As of 2015, treatment options for ileus include physical movement, laxatives, suppositories and enemas, notes Healthline. Those suffering from the condition are often given IV support to maintain hydration while they refrain from eating or drinking until the intestines regain function. Medical staff monitors the bowels for changes in activity, such as the passing of gas or bowel movements.

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