Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > Intussusception
Intussusception is a condition in which part of the intestine folds inward and into itself (like a telescope), usually causing swelling, pain, and a complete or partial loss of blood supply to the affected area. Left untreated, the affected intestine may burst or die, causing a serious, life-threatening condition.
Intussusception can occur anywhere along the intestinal tract, but it usually develops between the lower part of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. Intussusception is most common in children; it rarely affects adults. In children, the cause is usually not known. In adults, it is usually related to another intestinal problem.
Symptoms of intussusception in children usually appear suddenly and include:
In adults, the symptoms are less severe and less obvious.
Treatment for intussusception varies depending on age and the extent of the problem. Most children can be treated in the hospital with enemas. Sometimes surgery is needed. Most adults are treated with surgery.
Current as of:
March 27, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery, Critical Care Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.