Large Bowel Obstruction (Intestinal Obstruction): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The large bowel, likewise called the large intestine, belongs of your body that helps you remove waste. The remaining waste from the absorbed food enters your big bowel as liquid. Your large bowel soaks up water and alters the liquid to stool.

Large Bowel Obstruction (Intestinal Obstruction): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is large bowel obstruction?

Big bowel (digestive) obstruction takes place when there is an obstruction in the large bowel that prevents food from travelling through. The blockage cuts off blood supply to the bowel and a part of it dies. When this takes place, the pressure causes a leak that spreads bacteria into the body or blood.

What are the causes/risk aspects of large bowel obstruction?

  • Cancers of the:
  1. Colon (main cause)
  2. Stomach
  3. Ovary
  4. Lung
  5. Breast
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Abdominal radiation

What are the symptoms of large bowel obstruction?

The most typical symptoms are:

The pain normally is available in sharp waves then improves for awhile.

Who is at risk of a big bowel obstruction?

Individuals who:

  • Are any age, however more frequently those over 70
  • Have had surgery on abdominal area
  • Have had radiation therapy on abdominal area
  • Have/have had a form of cancer

Note: Fewer than one in 3 colorectal cancer patients in fact establish big bowel obstruction.

What is the risk of establishing big bowel obstruction?

The risk that you will develop the disease is 1.47 per 100,000 persons per year.

How is large bowel obstruction identified?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will check to see if you have abdominal pain, vomiting, or any movement of gas or stool in the bowel.
  • Total Blood Count (CBC): Your blood will be checked for:
  1. The variety of red blood cells, leukocyte, and platelets
  2. The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) at a loss blood cells
  3. The part of the blood sample comprised of red cell
  • Electrolyte panel: A blood test that measures the levels of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride.
  • Urinalysis: A test to check the color of urine and its contents — such as sugar, protein, red cell, and white blood cells — is performed.
  • Abdominal x-ray: An x-ray of the organs inside the abdomen. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
  • Barium enema: A liquid which contains barium (a silver-white metal compound) is put into the rectum. The barium coats the large bowel and x-rays are taken. This test might reveal what part of the bowel is blocked.
  • CT (computed tomography — also called CAT) scan: This scan makes comprehensive photos of areas within the body.
  • Colonoscopy: A doctor inserts a colonoscope into the anus. This scope is a long, versatile tube-like instrument. It allows the transmission of a picture of the colon lining onto a screen for the doctor to view.

How is big bowel obstruction treated?

There are various treatments depending on the kind of bowel obstruction you have. If you have a sudden and short-term bowel obstruction, it will be dealt with by:

  • Fluid replacement therapy: A treatment to obtain the fluids in the body back to normal quantities. Intravenous (IV) fluids may be offered and medications may be recommended.
  • Electrolyte correction: A treatment to obtain the correct amounts of chemicals in the blood, such as salt, potassium, and chloride. Fluids with electrolytes might be offered by infusion.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be done if major symptoms are not alleviated by other treatments.

If you have a long-lasting bowel obstruction, it will be treated by:

  • Surgery: The obstruction is removed to alleviate pain and improve lifestyle.
  • Stent: A metal tube placed into the bowel to open the area that is obstructed.
  • Medicines: Injections of medications might be offered to you to eliminate symptoms. These medications can be used to treat pain, queasiness, fullness of bowel, or more than one symptom.

What are the side-effects related to treatment?

  • Stent treatment:
  1. If you have a rectal growth within 2 cm. of the rectum, placing a stent can result in tenesmus. With tenesmus, you seem like you have to pass stools, even though your bowels are already empty. It may involve straining, pain, and cramping. Placing a stent may likewise cause incontinence (unmanageable urination).
  2. Perforation (tearing)
  3. Bleeding
  4. The stent can travel inside the body
  • The obstruction can happen again
  • Opioids can intensify the gastrointestinal system
  • After gastrostomy tube is placed:
  1. Abdominal wall pain might take place.
  2. The tube can fall out of location and circumnavigate in the body.
  3. Bleeding might take place.
  4. Catheter (versatile plastic tube that is positioned into your bladder to drain pipes urine) can circumnavigate in the body.

What are the outcomes and what should be anticipated after treatment?

Emergency situation surgery has a high risk of death, especially for the senior with other health problems. A better option is the stent treatment. Stent treatment is safer and more successful than surgery.

What is the outlook of large bowel obstruction (prognosis)?

The outlook is good if the clog is eliminated early. This is not true for individuals in the innovative stages of cancer and the elderly with other health problems since they can not hold up against surgery.

How can you prevent big bowel obstruction?

  • Get any unusual colon or rectal symptoms checked out (for instance, constipation and abdominal pain)
  • Get screened for colon or rectal cancer frequently

Research and clinical trials

There are a lot of different medical trials comparing the different treatment options. These trials learn which treatment is the most safe and has the best results. Also, some brand-new drugs are being checked for their efficiency.


Last Update - September 24, 2017

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