Bowel Obstruction or Intestinal Blockage

A intestine obstruction is when a blockage stops food and liquids from moving through your digestive nerve pathway. It can besides be called an intestinal obstruction, blocked intestine, or a gastrointestinal ( GI ) obstruction .
There are many possible causes of a intestine obstruction. It is more common in people with sealed kinds of cancer and in people with advanced cancer .
A complete obstruction is a aesculapian emergency and may require operation. A partial derivative obstruction is besides a unplayful problem and needs to be treated right away. It is important to talk with your health care team if you experience any of the symptoms of a intestine obstacle .
discussion for side effects is an significant separate of cancer care. This type of treatment is called alleviative care or supportive worry. Talk with your health care team about any symptoms you have, including new symptoms or changes. This helps them find side effects like a intestine obstruction a early as possible.

What is the gastrointestinal tract?

Your digestive tract or GI nerve pathway is made up of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. It is part of your digestive system .
The small intestine digests nutrients from food and liquids and absorbs them into blood vessels. These nutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Remaining food that can not be digested moves from the humble intestine to the large intestine. The colon absorb body of water from the waste and stores waste until the adjacent intestine motion, which removes the waste as stool ( feces ) from the body .

This illustration shows the 5 sections of the colon and rectum. The ascending colon is the beginning the large intestine into which the small intestine empties ; it begins on the lower correct side of the abdomen and then leads up to the cross colon. The cross colon crosses the top of the abdomen from right to left, leading to the condescend colon, which takes waste down the left side. ultimately, the sigmoid colon at the bottom takes waste a few more inches, down to the rectum. A cross-section of the rectum and sigmoid colon shows where waste leaves the body, through the anus. copyright 2004 american Society of Clinical Oncology. Robert Morreale/Visual Explanations, LLC .

What are the signs of a bowel obstruction?

A intestine obstruction can happen in the small intestine ( small intestine obstruction ) or the big intestine ( big intestine obstruction ). During a intestine obstruction, some or all of the food and liquids that move through the digestive nerve pathway are unable to move past the blockage. intestinal obstructions can be caused by something inside the GI tract blocking the intestine or by something outside the GI tract pressing on the intestine and causing it to collapse .
A intestine obstruction causes physical symptoms, including :

  • nausea and vomit
  • austere trouble in your abdomen ( belly )
  • Cramping trouble from peristalsis, the contractions that move food through your GI tract
  • visible waves of apparent motion across the belly from peristalsis contractions
  • Bloating
  • Feeling food get stuck as it moves through the GI tract
  • not being able to pass toilet ( stultification ) or accelerator

What causes a bowel obstruction?

The park causes of a GI obstruction when you have cancer are :

  • stool that is hard and unmanageable to pass
  • tortuous of the intestines
  • Scar tissue in the intestines
  • inflammation of the intestines after radiation therapy
  • A tumor or tumors inside the GI tract
  • A tumor or tumors pressing on the outside of the GI nerve pathway

What types of cancer can cause a bowel obstruction?

GI obstructions can happen with many types of cancer. They are more common in people with :

How is a bowel obstruction diagnosed?

In arrange to diagnose a intestine obstruction, your doctor will do a physical examination. During this examination, they will feel your abdomen and use a stethoscope to listen to your belly .
A intestine obstacle can much be confirmed with an x-ray. But not all intestine obstructions will show on an x ray, so you may need to have a CT read or a barium enema .

How is a bowel obstruction treated?

Most people who have a intestine obstruction command hospitalization. The best treatment for a intestine obstruction depends on what caused it. Some ways to treat or manage a intestine obstacle are :

  • Getting fluids through an intravenous ( IV ) metro that goes into a vein in your arm. not eating or toast for a few days can help reset and reverse twist bowels. If the blockage is not improving after a few days, you may besides need IV nutrition .
  • Enemas or medicine to loosen and/or soften a hard stool causing a blockage .
  • Using a tube to remove air and fluid in your digest to prevent more trouble. Called a nasogastric tube, this tube goes in through your nuzzle and down into your stomach .
  • Taking medicine your doctor recommends to relieve nausea and vomit, diarrhea, swelling, or pain .

If these options do not work, your doctor of the church may suggest :

  • operating room to fix the blockage and clear a path for food to go through your GI tract .
  • An expendable tube called a stent. This holds open the freeze area of the GI nerve pathway temporarily .
  • An ileostomy. This surgery can help your large intestine and rectum bring around after a blockage. During an ileostomy, a temp or permanent wave open ( stoma ) is placed from the lowest part of the small intestine to the outside of your abdomen. waste is collected in a pouch wear on the external of your body and does not need to pass through the large intestine or the colon .
  • A colostomy. This operating room can help parts of your large intestine and rectum heal after a obstruction. During a colostomy, a impermanent or permanent wave opening ( stoma ) is placed from the large intestine to the outside of your abdomen. pine away is collected in a pouch wear on the outside of your body and does not pass through the rectum .

Questions to ask the health care team

  • Is a intestine obstacle a coarse side consequence of the kind of cancer I have ?
  • If I ‘m at risk for a blockage, what signs or symptoms should I watch out for ?
  • Who should I contact if I have any signs or symptoms of a intestine obstruction ? How soon ?
  • What is causing my intestine obstruction ? How can it be treated ?
  • Is there medication I can take to relieve the symptoms of a intestine obstruction ?
  • If needed, what kind of surgery would you recommend to treat my intestine obstruction ? What will my recovery be like ?
  • Should I keep track of my intestine movements or cancer side effects during treatment ? If so, what is a thoroughly manner to track them ?

Related Resources


How to Live with an Ostomy Bag
How to Thrive While Living with an Ostomy Bag

More Information

National Cancer Institute : gastrointestinal Complications

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