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Intestinal Obstruction

Also called: Bowel obstruction, Intestinal volvulus, Paralytic ileus

An intestinal obstruction occurs when food or stool cannot move through the intestines. The obstruction can be complete or partial. There are many causes. The most common are adhesions, hernias, cancers, and certain medicines.

Symptoms include

  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Loud bowel sounds
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Constipation

A complete intestinal obstruction is a medical emergency. It often requires surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction

The following features are indicative of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • crampy abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • vomiting
  • inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas
  • swelling of the abdomen
It is possible that Intestinal Obstruction shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Intestinal Obstruction

The following are the most common causes of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • intestinal adhesions
  • colon cancer
  • telescoping of the intestine in children

Other Causes of Intestinal Obstruction

The following are the less common causes of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • hernias
  • Crohn's disease
  • diverticulitis
  • twisting of the colon (volvulus)
  • impacted feces

Risk Factors for Intestinal Obstruction

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Crohn's disease
  • cancer in the abdomen

Prevention of Intestinal Obstruction

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Intestinal Obstruction. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • reduce insoluble fibre intake
  • drink plenty of water

Occurrence of Intestinal Obstruction

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Intestinal Obstruction cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Widely occurring between 500K - 1 Million cases

Common Age Group

Intestinal Obstruction most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Intestinal Obstruction can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Intestinal Obstruction

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Intestinal Obstruction:
  • X-ray: To confirm a diagnosis of intestinal obstruction
  • Computerized tomography: To produce the cross-sectional images
  • Ultrasound: To see the intestine coiled within the intestine
  • Air or barium enema: Provides enhanced imaging of the colon

Doctor for Diagnosis of Intestinal Obstruction

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • General surgeon

Complications of Intestinal Obstruction if untreated

Yes, Intestinal Obstruction causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Intestinal Obstruction is left untreated:
  • tissue death
  • infection in the abdominal cavity

Procedures for Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction

The following procedures are used to treat Intestinal Obstruction:
  • Surgery: Removes the blockage

Self-care for Intestinal Obstruction

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • Increase fluids intake: Keep the bowel movements normal
  • Small meals intake: Eat small amounts of food several times a day

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Intestinal Obstruction:
  • Acupuncture therapy: Facilitate the release of endogenous opioid peptides
  • Do massage: Increases defecation frequency

Patient Support for Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction

The following actions may help Intestinal Obstruction patients:
  • Support groups: Join the groups to interact with other individuals with the same disease
  • Education: Read and collect the knowledge about the disease

Time for Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Intestinal Obstruction to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 11/07/2019.
This page provides information for Intestinal Obstruction.
Adhesions
Colonic Diseases
Small Intestine Disorders

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