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What Is Intussusception? Symptoms, Causes And Treatment.

A mother in Hull, Kingston in the United Kingdom, was horrified after she found her three-year-old son covered in black vomit and "lifeless" after he suddenly developed a rare life-threatening condition, reports said Wednesday.

Freddie Smith, 3, who lives in east Hull with his mother, Leanne, had to be put through two emergency operations after a part of his intestine telescoped into another section, putting his life in danger.

On Nov. 24, Leanne, who works as a delivery driver for the supermarket chain ASDA, went to Freddie's bedroom at their residence to wake him up for nursery. However, to her surprise, she found him lying with his face down on his bed, covered in thick, black vomit.

However, Leanne initially thought her son was suffering from a common sickness bug, but she began worrying when he started to pass blood. She took Freddie to Hull Royal Infirmary's pediatric emergency department soon after she discovered him covered in vomit.

She said: "He was limp and floppy. He was lifeless and it was terrifying," according to (

Freddie underwent an x-ray and then an ultrasound which showed a condition called "intussusception," which is normally found in babies aged 18 months to three years old, where a segment of intestine turns inside out, thus causing bowel obstruction.

Freddie was allowed to get back home before Christmas.

"Intussusception is a serious condition in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine. This 'telescoping' often blocks food or fluid from passing through. Intussusception also cuts off the blood supply to the part of the intestine that's affected, which can lead to a tear in the bowel (perforation), infection and death of bowel tissue," according to ( Mayo Clinic.

Intussusception can become a life-threatening condition at times. In this condition,  one part of the intestine slides into another, thus not allowing food to pass through. As a result, blood cannot get to the area either, which can lead to a tear in the bowel, infection, and internal bleeding.

Intussusception is a common abdominal emergency among children aged less than 2 years. However, it can also happen among older children and teenagers. It is very rare among adults, sometimes it can be a result of another medial issue, such as a tumor.

Other causes that might affect who is more likely to suffer from the condition include:

Previous issues: Those who have already suffered from the condition earlier have a higher chance of getting it again.

Gender: The condition affects more boys as compared to girls.

Birth defects: Some children are already born with intestinal discrepancies, which means that their intestines did not develop or turn out correctly, according to ( WebMD.

Children who haven't started to talk might express abdominal pain with a sudden, loud cry. The pain of intussusception comes and goes, generally 15 to 20 minutes in the beginning, but they last even longer and the frequency increases as time passes.

Other symptoms include:




Stool mixed with mucus and blood

Lump on the abdomen


During treatment, the doctor will first obtain a medical history and physical examinations of the child, which include imaging studies of abdominal organs such as:

Abdominal X-ray


Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series

Barium enema also known as lower GI series

Surgery might be a treatment option in critical cases. It is necessary for intussusception that does not have the ability to resolve with a barium enema, or for children who are too ill to undergo this diagnostic procedure, according to the Stanford Children's Health ( website.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Dec 28, 2017
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