The possible causes of intussusception will vary, depending on if it occurs in a child or an adult.
Some possible causes include:
- Viral infections, such as adenovirus
- Growth in the small bowel or colon (a polyp or tumor)
- Enlarged lymph gland
- Adhesions (scar-like tissue)
- Surgical scars in the small bowel or colon
- Long-term diarrhea.
In a number of cases, the cause of intussusception is not known.
(Click Causes of Intussusception for more information about the causes of this condition in children and adults.)
Infants and children with symptoms may experience:
- Intermittent abdominal pain
- Bowel movements that are mixed with blood and mucus
- Abdominal distention (or a lump in the abdomen)
- Vomiting bile
- Shock (low blood pressure and increased heart rate requiring immediate attention).
Some infants will have periods of crying in pain alternating with periods of exhausted sleep.
In adults, symptoms can last a long time (chronic symptoms) or they can come and go (intermittent symptoms). The intussusception symptoms will depend on the location of the intussusception.