Ileus (also called adynamic or paralytic ileus) is a type of bowel obstruction that occurs when the flow of food and fluids through the bowel is slowed or stops even though there is nothing blocking them. This prevents the digestion of food and the movement of waste out of the body.

Ileus can also be called a non-mechanical bowel obstruction.

Ileus most commonly occurs after abdominal surgery, though it has many other possible causes. Symptoms of ileus include:

  • Cramping abdominal (belly) pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Vomit may be green or dark.
  • Minimal or no passage of gas or stool.

This combination of symptoms requires immediate medical evaluation.

Treatment for ileus begins with intravenous (I.V.) fluids and electrolytes. A nasogastric (NG) tube may be placed in the nose and down into the stomach. The tube is connected to low suction to remove digestive fluids, which helps relieve and prevent pain and bloating.