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What Is a Bowel Obstruction?

When suddenly your digestive system tends to come to a grinding halt and you are unable to make any bowel movement or even pass gas. There are also symptoms of swollen belly with stomach pain then it is also signs of bowel obstruction. Bowel Obstruction basically refers to a complete or a partial obstruction of the small intestine leading to severe type of pain which comes and goes. One of the common type of obstruction is known as the fecal impaction. This is when a large or hard mass of stool tends to get stuck in the digestive tract and is unable to be pushed downwards on the normal way. When the bowel is blocked by something apart from the hard stool then it is termed as bowel obstruction.

Causes: There are multiple causes of bowel obstruction which involves tumors, twisting or narrowing of the small intestine and adhesions.There can be chances that part of the bowel may have become twisted which can lead to closing it off and thereby stopping anything to pass from it. The bowel may also become inflamed or swollen up, there can be a suspicious tumor or any other growth inside the bowel thereby blocking the passage, damaged blood vessel can also cause some of the bowel tissues to die out. Other few common causes can be stomach cancer, scar tissue due to a surgery, hernia, Crohn’s disease, ovarian cancer, and advanced stage of lung, breast cancer or melanoma.

Symptoms:The symptoms would basically depend on how bad has the obstruction being occurred. Few of the possible symptoms would include, loss of appetite, constipated, belly looks swollen, unable to pass gas, diarrhea, feel like throwing up and stomach cramps. Many a times those who experience these symptoms are older and may also be suffering from other serious kind of illness in such case bowel obstruction can turn out to be life threatening.

In case if the pain in the stomach becomes severe then it better to reach out to the doctor. Persistent and severe type of pain would mean that the supply of blood to the intestines has been cut off.

Diagnosis:The doctor would firstly inquire about the medical history of the patient whether you were constipated or had cancer. There would be details about symptoms to be list down. The doctor would also carry a physical examination to check for any pain in the abdomen, whether you are able to pass gas or there is any kind of lump in the abdomen. Blood tests and urine tests may also be carried out. The doctor can also provide barium enema.

Treatment: For a complete blockage you would need to be hospitalized for carrying out the treatment. The treatment would mostly involve surgery or opening up the blockage. Stent can also be performed and is a much safer option for those                who are too sick for an emergency surgery.

Prognosis: Those symptoms which are associated with bowel obstruction can often become worse over a period of just few hours hence large bowel obstruction which are triggered due to colorectal cancer can worsen. The outlook would basically be dependent on the cause of the bowel obstruction, the severity of the underlying condition, the age of the individual and when has the treatment started.

Prevention: Few methods to prevent cases of bowel obstruction is to bring about changes in what you eat and also lifestyle choice.

Complications: Bowel obstruction if left untreated can lead to serious form of life threatening conditions such as death of the tissues wherein the obstruction can cut off the blood supply to that part of the intestine. This lack of blood would lead to the intestinal wall to die off. Tissue death can ultimately lead to perforation in the intestinal wall. Another complication is peritonitis which is known to be a medical term for infection caused in the abdominal cavity.