Invagination in Children


The bowels of the body move with convulsive movements to move the food forward. Invagination means that part of the intestine has crept into the subsequent part. Then the intestine gets stuffy and the baby often gets very sore. Invagination is most common in children between six months and three years.

Symptoms of invagination in children

Symptoms of invagination in children can come suddenly, often after a stomach illness or in connection with an airway infection.

It starts with the fact that the baby has a severe stomach ache. The pain comes in and goes in intervals. The time between it hurts can initially be quite long but gradually becomes shorter. In the end, it can hurt all the time.

The child is often tired and brought on by the pain. They can gnaw and seem absent.

It is common for the child to feel ill and vomit.

There will be no feces or gases, but sometimes blood and mucus may come from the rectum.

The stomach is usually tender and tense if you feel it.

Children may also have a stomach ache for other reasons.

When to seek care?

You should seek care directly at an emergency room if you suspect the child has invagination.

Seek immediate care if the child has received a vaccine against rotavirus and has symptoms of invagination. It is unusual, but the risk of getting invagination may increase some of the vaccines.


When you come to the hospital you must tell the doctor about the child’s symptoms of invagination. The child is then examined with ultrasound and with an X-ray. With the colon X-ray, the doctor can see if a part of the small intestine has crept into the colon.

The baby may need more fluid after vomiting and having to swell in the gut. They then get a drop directly into the blood.

What happens in the body during invagination?

In the case of invagination, the last part of the small intestine, ileum, usually goes into the colon, colon. It also happens that part of the small intestine goes into the subsequent part of the small intestine, but it is unusual. 

Invagination makes it a stop in the gut. If the invagination does not go away by itself, sometimes the blood vessels in the area can be pinched. Parts of the intestinal tissue can then be damaged and holes in the intestine can be damaged if the blood supply to the intestine is throttled.

Invagination cannot be prevented. 

Treatment of invagination in children

In colon X-ray, contrast agents are used that can push the small intestine back out of the large intestine. The trouble then goes over and the child does not have to be operated on. The child often feels so good that you can go home after a few hours in the hospital. The earlier the child receives treatment in connection with the X-ray examination, the greater the chances that the child does not need surgery.

If the bowel cannot be pushed properly, the baby may need surgery. During the operation, the child is anesthetized and the doctor primarily tries to put the intestines right. If it fails, or if part of the intestine is damaged, all intestinal tissue that has been damaged needs to be removed. The healthy bowel ends are then sewn together.

After an operation, the child often needs to stay in the hospital for two to five days, depending on what the gut looked like during the operation. The baby can eat food directly if the intestine was expressed during colon x-ray or surgery. If a part of the intestine is removed, the baby gets a nutritional drop in the blood so that the intestine can rest. After a few days, the baby can start eating small portions of food. The child has to eat a little more all the time because, in the end, to be able to eat the same amount of food as before.

How are you doing then?

There is a certain risk that invagination will return, regardless of whether the invagination has occurred in conjunction with colon radiograph or after surgery. Therefore, care should be sought directly in an emergency room if the child experiences similar symptoms again.

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