Patient's Complete Guide to Intestinal Obstruction

Overview of Intestinal Obstruction

Sometimes an obstruction can occur in the small or large intestine which ceases the movement of bowels. This causes many health complications if left untreated.

Intestinal obstruction (آنتوں کی رکاوٹ) is the blockage of the small or large bowel of the body. It occurs when food or liquid or stool cannot move through the intestines (small or large). If the blockage is not removed the intestines are affected harshly and can die.

This obstruction is also known as bowel obstruction. The obstruction can be complete or partial. Complete intestinal obstruction requires instant surgery.

Prevalence of Intestinal Obstruction

Small bowel obstruction affects approximately 100-500 individuals per 100,000. The incidence rate of intestinal obstruction as a whole is 21.8 percent worldwide.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction

Intestinal obstruction has very visible symptoms which include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain – mild to severe
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Inability to pass stool or gas
  • Bloating
  • Loud bowel sounds

Causes of Intestinal Obstruction

Causes of intestinal obstruction include:

  • Intestinal adhesions
  • Hernia
  • Fibrous tissue band formation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Enteroliths
  • Volvulus (twisting of the colon)
  • Faecal impaction
  • Intussusception in children

Risk Factors of Intestinal Obstruction

Factors that increase the risk of intestinal obstruction are as following:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Pelvic surgery
  • Ulcers
  • Radiation therapy
  • Abdominal cancer
  • Crohn’s disease

Health Complications of Intestinal Obstruction

If not treated promptly, intestinal obstruction can cause life-threatening complications, which include:

  • Perforation in the intestinal wall
  • Infection in the abdominal cavity
  • Tissue Death

Prevention

You need to follow your medical specialist’s advice to care for your bowel or intestinal instructions. Apart from this, here are few tips you need to follow to prevent further intestinal obstructions:

  • Try and chew your food well. Chew a bite almost 30 times or till it becomes liquid.
  • Cut your large meals into smaller ones. Have 5 to 6 small meals as compared to having 3 large meals.
  • Avoid consuming a lot of fiber, raw vegetables, and fruits with skins.
  • Drink plenty of water to soften the stool and eat at regular times to save yourself from intestinal obstruction.

Diagnosis

Various diagnostic tests and procedures are involved in the diagnosis of intestinal obstruction.

  • Physical Examination

A thorough physical exam is conducted and the abdomen is checked for tenderness and swelling or lump.

  • X-ray

An Abdominal X-ray can confirm the intestinal obstruction. For more detailed imaging, other tests are done.

  • Ultrasound

Ultrasound is usually done to confirm the diagnosis in children. The coiling of the intestine can be viewed through ultrasound.

  • CT Enterography

CT and contrast material is used to view the small intestine. It produces cross-sectional images and more detailed imaging.

  • Barium Enema

Enhanced imaging of the colon can view any obstruction. Liquid barium sometimes fixes the problem in the children.

Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction | When to Consult a Doctor

Home remedies are not the preferred treatment route for intestinal obstruction.

  • Hospitalization

The priority is to stabilize the individual before undergoing treatment. For this purpose, an IV is introduced, abdominal swelling is relieved and urine is collected for testing.

  • Partial Obstruction Treatment

Partial obstruction is usually treated without surgery. A low-fibre diet is introduced. If the condition worsens, surgery can be recommended.

  • Pseudo-Obstruction Treatment

The cause is treated first and the symptoms are monitored. Pseudo-obstruction can be a result of paralytic ileus. Part of the intestine may be removed if needed.

  • Complete Obstruction Treatment

Surgery is performed depending on the cause and location of the obstruction. Obstruction is surgically removed, including dead tissue or damaged portions of the intestine.

Intestinal obstruction is recommended to be treated before it reaches the chronic stage resulting in tissue death. It is important to consult a doctor in case of abdominal swelling or abdominal pain.

 

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