Discharge Instructions for Intussusception

Your child was diagnosed with intussusception. This is a condition where part of the intestine slides inside another part. (The same way that parts of a telescope slide inside each other when you close it.) Blood supply to part of the intestine can then become blocked. This can cause severe damage if not treated. Intussusception can happen anywhere in the bowel. It is most common where the large intestine and small intestine meet. The cause is often unknown.

A fluid or air enema is often used to both diagnose and treat the problem. A flexible tube is used to put fluid or air into the intestine. Then, special X-rays are taken. The force of the fluid or air entering the intestine often straightens it.

Home care

  • Let your child return to normal activity as soon as he or she feels up to it.

  • Watch your child for signs that the condition has returned. It can sometimes come back. Look for belly (abdominal) pain that gets worse, or vomiting.

  • Feed your child a normal diet.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as directed.

When to call your child’s healthcare provider

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever (see Fever and children, below)

  • Belly pain that comes and goes

  • Constant belly pain that doesn't improve or seems to be getting worse

  • Vomiting

  • Extreme sluggishness, tiredness, or fatigue

  • Dark, mucus-like, bloody stools

  • Pale skin color


Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.