An intestinal obstruction is a blockage that prevents food or liquid from passing through your small or large intestine (colon). Without treatment, the blocked parts of the intestine can die, causing serious problems. However, with prompt medical attention, intestinal obstruction can often be successfully treated. A minimally invasive procedure is commonly used to treat gastrointestinal diseases. Unlike traditional intestine surgery, which requires a long incision down the centre of the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery only requires small "keyhole" incisions in the abdomen.
What causes an intestinal blockage?
The following are some of the potential causes of an intestinal blockage:
The following are signs and symptoms of intestinal obstruction:
Your healthcare provider will consider the following factors when diagnosing your condition:
The following diseases and conditions can increase your risk of intestinal obstruction:
The treatment for your intestinal blockage will be determined by the cause.
Many blockages will dissolve on their own with supportive care. It is best to avoid surgery because it can sometimes result in more scarring. Your doctor may advise you to avoid eating or limit yourself to clear liquids until your symptoms improve. Following this, a "low-residue" diet may be recommended to try to get things moving. This diet includes foods and liquids such as yoghurt that will not contribute to the blockage. Instead of more invasive surgery, your healthcare provider may use a small, flexible tube to remove intestinal contents until the bowel blockage is cleared. You will require IV (intravenous) fluids as well as electrolyte replacement. You may also require pain medication.
If your intestine is completely blocked (no food or stool can pass through), you will require immediate surgery. The goal is to clear the obstruction and repair your organs.
If the blockage is caused by a hernia, your provider may recommend that the hernia be repaired.
If the blockage is caused by inflammation, such as Crohn's disease, your provider may recommend medications to treat the disease.
Strictures, Benign Tumours, and Meckel’s diverticulum are the common conditions that require surgery for small intestine.