Intussusception happens when one part of the intestine folds into itself, like a collapsing telescope. This telescoping can block and put pressure on the intestine. Intussusception is most common between 3 months and 2 years of age, but can occur at any age.
The exact cause of intussusception is not known. It sometimes happens when a child has a cold or other viral illness associated with swollen glands in the abdomen. There are glands located in the wall of the intestine and swelling of these glands can cause the bowel to telescope.
There is a small risk that intussusception may be caused by rotavirus vaccine. However, the CDC recommends that infants get the vaccine to prevent severe rotavirus disease.
The doctor will ask questions about your child's medical history and recent symptoms. An X-ray may be taken to help make the diagnosis.
Your child may be treated in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Once your child has been treated and discharged, there should be no further pain and nothing special to do at home. Your child should eat, drink, act and play normally. Rarely, intussusception can happen again. If it does, it is usually within 48 hours, so it is important to watch your child carefully to see if symptoms come back.
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