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Intestinal obstruction: symptoms and signs

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

It is an intestinal obstruction when a person cannot remove digested food or stool from the intestine. The block can be complete or partial and is a frequent emergency in hospitals. This can be due to various causes, so a doctor must review the patient correctly to offer an indicated treatment since this disorder can be very annoying for those who suffer from it.

This stopping of transit throughout the entire intestine can cause various symptoms, so it must be treated quickly to eliminate them. Although it is usually a widespread pathology, some people may not know much about it. For this reason, we invite you to read the following FastlyHealarticle, in which we offer you all the information about intestinal obstruction: symptoms and signs.

Causes of intestinal obstruction

Bowel occlusion can be mechanical, which means that there is something in the path of intestinal transit that stops it, or it can be ileus, which means that the patient suffers from some condition in which this part of the body is not working correctly. However, there is no structural disorder that causes it.

The disorder paralytic ileus, also called pseudo-obstruction, is one of the most common causes of intestinal obstruction in infants and children. This alteration has among its origins the entry of some virus or bacteria that affect the intestines, abdominal surgery, chemical or mineral disorders, reduced blood flow in the intestinal area, kidney or lung diseases, and the consumption of certain drugs.

For its part, the leading causes of mechanical occlusion can be gallstones, fecal retention, ingestion of foreign bodies, intestinal tumors, hernias, volvulus, which is the twisting of the intestine on itself, and intussusception, which is characterized by the fact that one part of the intestine slides into another part of the intestine.

Main symptoms and signs of intestinal obstruction

The obstruction of the small intestine can cause abdominal discomfort around the navel or epigastric, vomiting, and in those who suffer total occlusion, constipation can appear.

Otherwise, some patients with partial obstruction may have diarrhea and severe pain that indicates strangulation. If this is not the case, the person with this disorder may not feel discomfort on abdominal palpation, although hyperactive bowel contraction with colic is expected.

Likewise, severe signs such as shock or decreased urine production may indicate advanced obstruction or strangulation, which is why it is essential to see a doctor urgently.

On the other hand, those who suffer from an occlusion in the large intestine have mild symptoms that can increase over time:

  • Constipation is prevalent and can grow more and more until it produces tremendous abdominal distension.
  • Vomiting can also occur, but these are not usually as frequent.
  • Lower abdominal cramps without the presence of fecal matter can be characteristic of this alteration.
  • The most common sign is abdominal distension, with an empty rectum, without discomfort on palpation, and upon palpation, a mass may be felt that indicates the location of the obstruction.

How to remove a bowel obstruction

People who suffer from intestinal obstruction may need to remain hospitalized to be diagnosed correctly and with rigorous treatment. However, it will be limited depending on the type of occlusion and on each patient. Doctors often opt for other forms of treatment before undergoing surgical treatment, such as a nasogastric suction.

This last option involves placing a tube through the nose and the body until it reaches the stomach or intestine. This way improves abdominal distention and disorders caused by it, such as vomiting. If it is an obstruction in the large intestine, this treatment will begin with a tube to the rectum; however, doctors may also recommend taking certain drugs, especially if intestinal ischemia is suspected.

Intestinal obstruction: complications

If the blockage in the intestine is not treated in time and correctly, it can cause certain complications such as:

  • Dehydration .
  • Electrolyte imbalances.
  • Infection.
  • Perforation in some parts of the intestine.
  • Jaundice, that is, the skin and eyes have a yellowish hue.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Intestinal obstruction: symptoms and signs, we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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