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5 Important Facts About Bowel Obstruction

5 Important Facts About Bowel Obstruction

When you’re digesting food, those food particles have to travel 25 feet to get through all of your digestive system. However, this process can’t happen if something is blocking the path. This type of blockage is known as a bowel obstruction and keeps your body from being able to pass along fluids and food particles.

If you have a bowel obstruction, you’re not able to pass gas or have a bowel movement, which can lead to abdominal pain and other possibly serious complications.

Because a bowel obstruction does have some serious implications for your health and there’s not much you can do to prevent one, Ven Kottapalli, MD, CNSP, and the rest of our team at GI Physicians, Inc. in Lima, Ohio, want to give you some facts about bowel obstructions so you can be informed.

1. There’s more than one kind of bowel obstruction

Bowel obstructions can occur in either your large or small intestine and are referred to as such. Small bowel obstructions are more common than large bowel obstructions.

Bowel obstructions in either of your intestines can vary. You can have a partial blockage which can get better on its own or a complete blockage which usually requires surgery. But you can also have what’s called a pseudo-obstruction. This happens when you have all the symptoms of a bowel obstruction, but there’s nothing physically blocking your intestines.

2. Many things can cause a bowel obstruction

There isn’t any one thing that typically causes a bowel obstruction. A blockage can occur for any of the following reasons:

You’re more at risk for developing a bowel obstruction if you have a history of bowel obstructions or you’ve recently had abdominal surgery. 

3. Symptoms can vary greatly

The kinds of symptoms you experience with a bowel obstruction can vary depending on the size of the obstruction and where it’s located. Vomiting is typically associated with a small bowel obstruction, although you can also have vomiting if your large bowel obstruction has been happening for a while. 

Partial bowel obstructions can cause diarrhea while complete bowel obstructions won’t allow you to have bowel movements at all. 

Some other symptoms you can experience include severe bloating, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and abdominal cramps.

4. Complications of a bowel obstruction can be serious

There are a few things that can happen if your bowel obstruction is left untreated. The first is that your intestine could tear and bacteria from your intestine can leak into your abdominal cavity and cause an infection. This infection can lead to a life-threatening condition known as sepsis. 

The second is that part of your intestine can die. If this happens, that portion of your intestine needs to be removed.

5. Professional treatment is always necessary

You should never try to treat a bowel obstruction on your own. If you notice that you’re experiencing symptoms of a bowel obstruction, seek medical care right away. 

Your obstruction might be able to be treated with fluids and a tube placed through your nose into your stomach and intestines. However, if these measures don’t work to relieve your symptoms, a stent may need to be placed or surgery to remove the obstruction could be required.

If you suspect you have a bowel obstruction, come see our team right away for expert treatment. You can set up an appointment by giving us a call or scheduling online today.

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