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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is bowel obstruction?
Bowel (intestinal) obstruction occurs when you have a complete or partial blockage of your bowel. The blockage stops liquids, solids and gas from passing through your small or large intestine.
What causes bowel obstruction?
Bowel obstruction is usually due to something physically blocking your intestine. Common causes of this are scar tissue (adhesions) which form after abdominal surgery, hernias, tumors, twisting of the intestine (volvulus), telescoping (intussusception) and …
What are the signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction?
Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction depend on where the blockage occurs and if it is complete or partial. Common symptoms are: colicky stomach pain and cramping, which comes and goes; abdominal fullness and swelling; inability to …
Is bowel obstruction infectious?
A bowel obstruction is not infectious, but abdominal infections (peritonitis) are a serious side effect of some types of obstruction.
Is bowel obstruction a serious condition?
Yes, all forms of bowel obstruction are a medical emergency and cannot be treated at home. Left untreated, some types of obstruction can prove fatal.
How is bowel obstruction treated?
Complete blockages will require surgery. Partial blockages can be treated by a doctor inserting a thin tube to drain away excess fluid and gas. If you have paralytic ileus (paralysis of the intestinal muscles) you may be kept under observation without any …
Will bowel obstruction happen again?
There is a slightly higher risk of having a recurring bowel obstruction with some types of this condition.
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Votes: 638 (Click smiley face below to rate)