Vaccine-Related Intussusception

Are you or a loved one suffering from intussusception and trying to understand what might have caused a sudden onset of this illness? Vaccine-related intussusception, although rare, can occur.

What is Intussusception?

Intussusception is a serious medical condition in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine and results in a blockage of the food and/or fluid trying to pass through. It also cuts off the blood supply to the part of the intestine that is affected, which can lead to a perforation (tear) in the bowel, infection, and death of bowel tissue.

What are the symptoms of Intussusception?

The first sign of intussusception (in an otherwise healthy person) may be severe abdominal pain. At first, the pain comes and goes, usually every 15 to 20 minutes but, as time passes, these painful episodes intensify in both severity and duration. Other frequent signs include –  stool mixed with blood and mucus, vomiting, a lump in the abdomen, lethargy, diarrhea, and fever.

Fortunately, if caught in time, the intestine can usually be pushed back into position but, if left untreated, it can be potentially life-threatening. If untreated, the lack of blood causes the tissue of the intestinal wall to die, and tissue death can result in perforation of the intestinal wall, which can cause an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis) – a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Therefore, it’s important to be able to recognize potential signs and symptoms of intussusception, especially for parents of newborns, so that treatment can be initiated immediately and further problems/complications prevented.

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