Reviewed by Rishi Desai, MD, MPH
Ileus is a disruption of the normal propulsive ability of the gastrointestinal tract. Its meaning is restricted to those disruptions caused by the failure of peristalsis, rather than by mechanical obstruction. Symptoms include constipation and decreased flatus; and distended/tympanic abdomen with decreased bowel sounds. Ileus is associated with abdominal surgeries, opiates, hypokalemia, or sepsis. Treatment involves bowel rest, electrolyte correction, and cholinergic drugs to stimulate intestinal motility.