What is Intestinal Obstruction?

Intestinal Obstruction

is a physical or functional blockage of the intestine preventing the body to get rid of the harmful waste products.

In the United States alone, 300,000 intestinal blockage repairs are performed every year

. It is very prevalent among children and requires immediate medical attention.

What is Intestional Obstruction?

It is mostly caused in the small intestine or in the large intestine. Small Intestine is made up of the duodenum (beneath the stomach), jejunum in the middle and ileum which transfers the digestive by products to the large intestine. So obstructions in the small intestine are known as Small Bowel Obstruction.

The large intestine is made up of the colon which forms the stool and the rectum which discharges the stool with the aid of the anus. Colonic obstructions are also very common.

Causes of Intestinal blockage

  • A mechanical blockage is when some foreign object in the digestive system is blocking the intestines.
  • Adhesions, where scar tissues from a healed injury or post surgery cause full or partial blockage.
  • Cancerous tumors and intestinal lesions are often the cause of blockages.
  • Hiatal hernia, a part of the intestine finds a weak spot or tear in the stomach wall and protrudes through it causes it.
  • Volvulus is when a loop of bowel has abnormally twisted on itself and causes obstruction.
  • Intussusception is when a part of the intestine collapse over another part and block the digestive pathway.
  • Infection.
  • Congenital (Birth) defects.
  • Colon deformities or cancer.
  • Internal hemorrhoids can block the passageway of stool.
  • Ischemic Colitis is when inflammation of colon causes blockage.
  • Crohn’s disease is chronic inflammation of intestines and can cause the said condition.
  • Side effects of radiation or chemicals can cause inflammation of colon severe enough to cause blockages.
  • Paralytic Ileus or pseudo obstruction can block the digestive path without any structural malfunction. This condition can be caused by mineral deficiency like that of potassium, abdominal surgery, abdominal infection etc.
  • Intestinal parasites and bugs could also cause obstruction.

Symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction

  • Severe abdominal pain and cramps
  • Flatulence and bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Severe to moderate vomiting and nausea
  • Dehydration

Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction

Small blockages can be removed by administering fluids through veins (Intra Venous) and inserting a nasogastric tube (through the nose to the stomach) to relieve bloating and pressure in the stomach.
However, in case of complete or some partial blockages intervention with surgery could only be the life saving option.

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