Intestinal pseudoobstruction is characterized by signs and symptoms of recurrent intestinal obstruction in the absence of an identifiable mechanical lesion. Underlying illnesses that have been associated with intestinal pseudoobstruction include scleroderma, amyloidosis, various endocrinopathies (eg, hypothyroidism), narcotic or laxative abuse, and electrolyte disturbances (eg, hypokalemia). Although the underlying cause of idiopathic intestinal pseudoobstruction is unknown, the primary pathophysiologic dysfunction in patients with idiopathic pseudoobstruction is a disorganization or lack of smooth muscle contractility that results in disordered peristalsis or aperistalsis involving bowel and/or urinary bladder.

The clinical manifestations of the motility disorder associated with chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudoobstruction include periodic vomiting, abdominal distension, constipation, urinary retention, and weight loss.

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