Bowel Obstruction

A bowel obstruction is a blockage in the intestines that prevents gas, fluids, or solids from moving through the intestines normally. Many different problems can cause a bowel obstruction. Some examples are scar tissue from previous surgeries (adhesions), certain types of hernias, cancer, twisting of the intestines (volvulus), or diverticulitis.

Symptoms of a bowel obstruction include:

  • Cramping abdominal (belly) pain. The pain may affect all or part of the belly area and may be severe.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • An inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.
  • Bloating.

A suspected bowel obstruction needs to be evaluated by a doctor. It may require medical or surgical treatment.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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