Bowel Obstruction

How to Identify Bowel Obstruction

Having bowel obstruction is a very serious health condition, and you will need to find the right treatment to get your body back on track. There are many different treatment options, but there are also many different symptoms, so you need to be able to identify your condition. The best way to do this is to talk to your doctor. They can help you find the right treatment to help you get your life back on track.

Identifying the type, severity, and cause

Identifying the type, severity, and cause of bowel obstruction can help determine the best course of treatment. While there are many causes, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and hernias are the three most common types. Some types of obstruction require surgery. However, some obstructions may be treated with conservative measures.

If a patient has a fever, a history of abdominal infections, and free air on a chest film, he should be evaluated immediately. These signs may indicate strangulation. A genitourinary examination should also be performed.

The main symptom of bowel obstruction is abdominal distension. If the distension is severe, vomiting and diarrhea can occur. The patient may also experience constipation.

The first type of obstruction is called simple. In simple obstruction, the lumen is occluded. This is usually treated with nonsurgical management. In some cases, the bowel can be released from the intestine before any damage occurs.

The second type of obstruction is called partial. Partial obstruction may be treated with IV fluids, a nasogastric tube, or surgical intervention. In some cases, a water-soluble contrast study will help determine whether the obstruction is complete or partial.

A complete obstruction is a medical emergency. It can cut off blood flow to the bowel and cause damage to the intestine. It can also lead to necrosis. If necrosis occurs, it can cause a life-threatening infection. A nasogastric tube can be used to remove excess fluids and restore the balance of fluids.

In a complete obstruction, the intestinal contents are unable to pass distally. This can result in perforation. A perforation can cause leakage into the abdomen, a life-threatening infection, or death.

Identifying the symptoms

Identifying the symptoms of bowel obstruction can be difficult. Often, these symptoms may overlap with other conditions. However, prompt recognition improves morbidity and outcomes.

The classic signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and inability to pass feces. However, the symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the obstruction. Typically, the onset of symptoms is slowly progressive.

In severe cases, bowel obstruction may also result in peritonitis, a potentially life-threatening condition. The signs and symptoms of peritonitis may include fever, chills, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distension.

Several factors can increase the risk of bowel obstruction, including age, intestinal surgery, hernias, and abdominal infections. However, it is important to note that the risk factors for bowel obstruction may not be present in everyone.

The first step in identifying the symptoms of bowel obstruction is to determine the severity of the obstruction. This will determine whether treatment is needed. Treatments may include intravenous fluids, bowel rest, and intestinal decompression. If the bowel is damaged or obstructed by bowel cancer, surgery may be necessary.

Other conditions that may result in bowel obstruction include muscle or nerve disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and intestinal infection. A thorough medical history is important in identifying the symptoms of bowel obstruction.

Abdominal pain is the most common presenting symptom of bowel obstruction. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms tend to improve with vomiting. The pain can be continuous or intermittent.

The signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may also include abdominal adhesions, bulges in the abdomen, and a lack of appetite. A physical examination will also help identify the symptoms of bowel obstruction.


Approximately 15% of hospital admissions for acute abdominal pain in the United States are due to bowel obstruction. In addition, about 20% of cases require acute surgical care.

Bowel obstruction may be caused by a variety of conditions, including tuberculosis, gallstones, bezars, and foreign bodies. In addition, it can be a complication of advanced tumors. It is estimated that bowel obstruction accounts for almost 30,000 deaths each year, with direct medical costs of around $3 billion.

To diagnose bowel obstruction, plain films of the abdomen are usually necessary. These films add little to the diagnosis, as they are not useful in identifying the exact cause of obstruction.

Plain x-rays of the abdomen are also important in the diagnosis of bowel obstruction. These films confirm the diagnosis of dilated bowel loops and air-fluid levels.

CT scan is another important diagnostic tool. It can be used to identify obstructions of the small and large bowel. It also allows the identification of coexistent ischemia. This information can be used to determine whether surgery is required or whether conservative treatment should be initiated. It can also help differentiate between complete obstruction and closed-loop obstruction.

CT can also detect the presence of free extraluminal gas. This can indicate pneumatosis. In addition, it can also help identify the transition zone, which is the site where dilated bowel transitions to decompressed bowel. The accuracy of transition zone detection ranges from 63% to 93%.

In the emergency department, a complete history and physical examination should be performed. Laboratory tests should also be performed. The results of these tests should be carefully scrutinized for evidence of strangulation. If there is suspicion of strangulation, patients should be considered candidates for surgery.

Treatment options

Fortunately, most bowel obstructions can be treated. Treatment can vary depending on the cause of the obstruction. The severity of the obstruction can also determine what type of treatment is required.

In general, bowel obstructions occur when something blocks a portion of the intestine. This can cause bloating and pain. Symptoms can also include diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, the bowel can rupture.

Treatment options for bowel obstruction can include medication, surgery, and supportive care. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

A doctor will perform a physical examination to determine if you have a bowel obstruction. The doctor will also ask you about your medical history. He or she may listen to your bowel sounds using a stethoscope. If there are no signs of bowel obstruction, the doctor may simply ask you to describe your symptoms.

Some people with bowel obstructions are treated with an NG tube. This tube is placed through your mouth and into your intestine. It helps relieve the pain and pressure.

Other treatment options for bowel obstruction include laxatives and opioids. These can help stimulate the colon to contract. However, laxatives can be dangerous for people with chronic constipation due to a serious condition. Opioids can also lead to constipation.

For younger children, an air enema can help to treat intussusception. A warm mineral oil enema can also help soften stools. Medicated suppositories can stimulate the colon to clear.

Surgery is also used to treat intussusception. This type of bowel obstruction is rare in adults. The main cause is an underlying condition. However, this condition can cause severe complications if not treated properly.


Several factors determine the risk of bowel obstruction. For example, if a patient has Crohn’s disease, a procedure that removes a portion of the intestine can minimize the risk of a blockage. If the cause of bowel obstruction is due to cancer, proper treatment of cancer can reduce the risk.

In addition to cancer, bowel obstruction can be caused by infections or surgical complications. Surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and can help relieve symptoms. However, if left untreated, a severe obstruction can compromise the blood supply of the intestine and result in intestinal rupture. Surgical treatment may also be necessary if signs of tissue death or perforation are present.

Laparoscopic surgery may decrease the risk of bowel obstruction post-operatively. However, it has not been proven to reduce the risk of obstruction from adhesions at a distance from the operative site.

The Seprafilm(r) study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of Seprafilm in the prevention of bowel obstruction. This study was conducted on 1701 patients undergoing open or laparoscopic colorectal surgery. After propensity score matching, the incidence of BO was compared between the Seprafilm and non-Seprafilm groups.

Adhesion-related bowel obstruction was significantly reduced in the Seprafilm group. The number of adhesion-related bowel obstruction cases in the Seprafilm group was 1.8 percent, compared to 3.4% in the non-Seprafilm group.

In addition to adhesions, bowel obstruction may be caused by a hernia, an obstruction from a tumor, or an obstruction caused by a blockage in the blood supply. Depending on the cause, surgery may be needed to repair the hernia and decrease the risk of bowel obstruction.

In addition to bowel obstruction, anastomotic fistulas, necrotizing enterocolitis, and lung infections can be caused by an obstruction. In these cases, a nasogastric tube is used to relieve pressure on the abdomen. During NG tube placement, patients are not allowed to eat or drink. The tube is inserted through the nostril, and the patient is given intravenous fluids to hydrate.

Health Sources:

Health A to Z. (n.d.).

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.).

Directory Health Topics. (n.d.).

Health A-Z. (2022, April 26). Verywell Health.

Harvard Health. (2015, November 17). Health A to Z.

Health Conditions A-Z Sitemap. (n.d.).

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman is a Healthy Home Remedies Writer for Home Remedy Lifestyle! With over 10 years of experience, I've helped countless people find natural solutions to their health problems. At Home Remedy Lifestyle, we believe that knowledge is power. I am dedicated to providing our readers with trustworthy, evidence-based information about home remedies and natural medical treatments. I love finding creative ways to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle on a budget! It is my hope to empower our readers to take control of their health!

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