Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction

Also known as: CIPO, intestinal pseudo-obstruction11.

What is chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction?

In order for food to make its way through the digestive tract, it relies on a process of involuntary muscle contractions known as peristalsis. When peristalsis doesn’t work properly due to nerve or muscle problems, this is known as chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

What causes chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction?

Many cases of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction do not have a known cause. CIPO can also arise in conjunction with other medical/surgical conditions or medications that are associated with abnormal function of the nerves and muscles that control peristalsis.

What are the symptoms of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction?

Symptoms of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction can include abdominal pain and cramping, constipation, vomiting, nausea, early fullness with meals, and trouble gaining weight.

What are chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction care options?

Some medications can help with the symptoms of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Dietary changes such as eating several small meals throughout the day rather than fewer, larger meals can also make a difference. In some instances, an opening (called an ostomy) may need to be created surgically to allow intestinal contents or stool to pass through the gastrointestinal tract more readily.

Reviewed by: John M. Peters, DO

This page was last updated on: 2/5/2018 3:52:12 PM

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Dr. Peters is employed by Pediatric Specialists of America (PSA), the physician-led group practice of Miami Children’s Health System. He sees patients at the Nicklaus Children's Palm Beach Gardens Outpatient Center and is the PSA Northern Regional Chief, Section of Gastroenterology.