Intussusception: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2019

Intussusception is a condition in which one portion of the intestine becomes infolded into the more downstream part of the intestine. The infolding can be thought of as "telescoping" of one piece of intestine into an adjacent segment. Intussusception is the main cause of intestinal obstruction in children between 3 months and 5 years of age. It is extremely rare in children under 3 months of age or in older children and adults. Intussusception is an emergency because it can cause compression of the blood vessels in the affected area, leading to swelling, bleeding, and even death of the intestinal tissue.

Signs and symptoms of intussusception include

Other associated symptoms can include

  • crying,
  • fatigue,
  • lethargy, and
  • drawing up of the knees in an affected infant.

Cause of intussusception

Doctors do not understand the cause of intussusception.

Other intussusception symptoms and signs


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.