What is it?

Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that prevents fluids and flood from passing through the intestines. Causes for intestinal obstruction may include colon cancer, medications, abdominal adhesions, strictures caused by Chrohn’s disease or diverticulitis. Intestinal obstruction requires an urgent treatment because intestinal parts that are blocked may become necrotized, which may lead to perforation (tear in the intestinal wall), sepsis and even death. In children, the most common cause for intestinal obstruction is a condition called intussusception, which is telescoping of the intestines.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Impaction of Intestine
- Fecal Impaction
- Intestinal Adhesions with Obstruction
- Volvulus of Intestine
- Intussusception
- Paralytic Ileus
- Paralysis of colon
- Paralytic colon
- Gallstone Ileus

Signs & symptoms

Intestinal obstruction symptoms may include abdominal pain that comes and goes, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, absence of bowel movement or passage of gas,and abdominal swelling.


Diagnosis of bowel obstruction starts with medical history and physical exam. On a physical exam, the doctor may suspect bowel obstruction if the abdomen is swollen, tender, and when listening with a stethoscope there is no sound of bowel movement. If an intestinal perforation has occurred, the patient will not even let the doctor touch the abdomen- a sign for peritonitis. On an abdominal X-ray, or a CT scan can show the obstruction.


Treatment for intestinal obstruction requires hospitalization and depends on the severity of the obstruction. If the obstruction is partial , a low-fiber diet may be recommended. If the obstruction does not resolve by itself, surgery may be needed. For complete obstruction, surgery is needed and involves removing the obstruction and other parts of the intestines that were damaged.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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