The last two being within 1 yr. The pain I go through is incredible. The surgeons and GI doctors I've spoken to all say that there is nothing I can do to avoid another bowel obstruction. There has got to be something that I can do to help prevent future obstructions. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am so worried that this may happen again... the NG tube is the worst! I need to be proactive to make sure I don't get another one... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
15 Aug 2012
I have been down your road--4 obstructions, 3 hospitalizations with NG tubes--no fun at all. From research and experience: I can't eat fiber (maybe 2 small sections of an orange, half an apple at the most, no raw veggies). Think "appetizer' size at mealtime and don't have 3 big meals a day. Those days are gone. Eat every couple hours with a SMALL amount. Lots of water and chew your food a lot! No big sticky pieces of dessert or bulk of anything. I joke with my doc that I can't eat fruit and veggies, but the twinkies and dingdongs pass right through. Try to stay healthy with small portions. Good luck.
10 Dec 2013
I had an small bowel obstruction March 2011 and I can definitely relate to how you feel.I've learned that foods high in fiber are horrible for me also fried foods, raw veggies and dairy products.A bland diet seems to be the only answer. I've also noticed that my stomach seems to vary day to day. I learned to keep a Diary and document what bothers my stomach and what soothes it and that has really worked for me.I hope this has or will help you!
8 Aug 2012
Hi janice - there has got to be something wrong here that something like exploratory surgery could uncover - like a twisted bowel or blockage somewhere. You haven't mentioned other health issues or complications which could be helpful here. Laura has given you great suggestions, too, because fiber is very important in keeping regular or eating many smaller meals through the day verses two or three. It also is important to NOT eat large meals in the evening for you... while you are active during the day is when you eat for energy and the evening is small, light meals that are easily digested as you wind down from your day and getting ready for sleep. You don't have ciliac disease, do you?
9 Dec 2014
Hi everybody! Reading all those posts it seems to me that sometimes the human sufferance has no limit...
Shortly, my story: mid September surgery for a minor supra umbilical hernia (Laparoscopic surgery). They placed a mesh and sent me home the day after. The following days didn't went too well for me but after a while everything was fine. Two month later I reach ER after several hours of pain and the day after I'm again on surgery: my small bowel adhered to the mesh and led to a type of sbo which, according with the surgeon, he never met.
Now I'm like 1 month since the second surgery and I recovered quite well. The only question mark I have is that sometimes I feel like small pains (intensity 2-3, from 1 to 10) on my abdominal area (it might be on the right or on the left, but mostly around umbilical area). Also, if I stretch i feel like a tension inside me. I asked my physician and he said that it should be no pain and let him know if things get worse. On the other hand, I know he never met such a sbo like mine so he's telling me the "correct answer."
Basically, my question is if this minor pain is part of the healing process or maybe it's a new sbo developing "quietly"? I don't think there is something which I can do to prevent.
7 Nov 2014
No one has mentioned Serraptase yet. Read up on it... Pretty amazing. The enzymes in it will eat up scar tissue. I found out about it, too late when I had fibroids.
Also, For keeping the intestine clean and moving - try my new fav thing (in hospital now! Wish I had it w me!). Morninga Tree powder - a super green food. Works on anti inflammatory and better than any high fiber you get over the counter. Inexpensive and avail lots of places online! $16 for a pound. I put mine in youtube on salads in soups.
ALSO always recommend people call the Agape Prayer line in Los Angeles look it up online, n have a Practioner hold it with you.
14 Jun 2015
I had 2 small intestinal obstructions with a lots of pain within one year. Both the times I walked out of the hospital without NG tube or operations. The surgeons suggested me to go through the operation right away and I requested them to wait. I walked around quite a bit and did as much physical movements as I could do. I took some medications so I don't suffer with pain. I came out of the hospital smiling both times.
I consulted several doctors . They suggested me to chew my food, eat low fiber diets and avoid to eat vegetables like broccoli. To avoid constipation, I take MiraLax every day. I may have to stay on it all my life but it is fine, It keeps my stool in liquid form and I don't get constipated. Drink a lot of water and exercise regularly.
4 Nov 2014
This is not an answer just my story. I had colon cancer in 2006 and had my ascending colon removed. Following that I had a round of chemo and radiation. Just after the surgery I was having severe cramping and back pain which would go away after 1/2 hour. The surgeon had me do a bunch of testing but found nothing and after a month or so I had no more episodes. Fast forward 5 years later, I started having the same pain but like 5 years before I figured it would resolve on it's own. After a few hours I could not take it anymore and went to the emergency room vomiting on the way. I could hardly stand. Once I finally got some pain medication the pain went away and then came the NG tube. Four days later I was released and figure it was a one time thing and went on my merry way. ^ months later I was back. This time I persuade them not to do the NG tube and I was out within 12 hours.
Ever since then I have been in the emergency room 15 times over the last 4 years with 1 exploratory surgery to look around with only diagnosis being scar tissue and if they tried to fix that it could possibly get worse. My general practitioner try giving me Norco to try to kill the pain but I found that if your blocked up the Norco can't get where it is need to be absorbed. Anyway all I seem to need is pain management to get me through a few hours of this pain and it will resolve itself, but every time I go in they treat me as if this was the first time and the bill ends up being between $9000 and $18000 dollars for an average of 12 hours stay. I wish there was something that I could have at home so I could manage the pain for a few hours that does not need to be taken orally. Maybe medicinal marijuana? Anyone have another type of pain management to try?
6 Jul 2014
I am so happy to find this site. just got home after my 4th bowel obstruction in a year and 6 months.. I eat healthy walk 3 miles a day and work full time. I refuse the ng tube . although my stomach muscles hurt from throwing up. my doctor lets me sit in the hospital for 3 days then sends me home each time. nothing she can do just wait until the next episode. I can pretty much diagnose when its going to happen again. I feel like I should use the ninja blender on all my food because food is my enemy. I work full time and I am worried this is going to be a problem in the future. Anyone with suggestions I am all ears! looks like a life long problem and I dread its coming again but don't know when it will happen!!
4 Sep 2013
I have been suffering from these for 5 years. After extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic, I discovered the reason for these is due to the high-dose radiation treatments I was required to undergo for treatment of a low-grade sarcoma near my lower spine 8 years ago. Inflammation set in followed by scar tissue. My gut will never fully recover from this. I have been trying to live with this as best I can. You are right... these are very painful and a couple of mine have landed me in the hospital. Surgery will never be an option for me. My suggestions to you would be to see a nutritionist and work with him/her on dietary changes. Low fiber is the way to go as high fiber will only add bulk which will increase your chances of a small bowel obstruction. The person who suggested high fiber is going on the premise that fiber helps to prevent constipation which is not your problem. Since I limit my fiber intake, I take MiraLAX everyday to help prevent getting constipated.
This product pulls fluid from your bowel to aid in the passage of feces. Avoid products like Metamucil which only adds bulk to your gut. Also avoid laxatives as these are harsh and can lead to dependency. Probiotics are great but be sure to get the good kind (mine need refrigeration). They can be a little spendy but I think they are worth it. And drink lots and lots of water... more than the average person... especially with meals. Eat smaller meals and chew all food completely. I take enzyme tablets with a meal that has meat because meat is very hard to digest. Also, try to limit fats since they are equally hard to digest. Avoid eating when feeling stressed as my nutritionist told me that your gut shuts down when you are stressed. Try relaxation tapes and meditation. Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables and avoid caffeine. I found out from my nutritionist that some foods can actually increase inflammation in the body (especially the gut). From doing an elimination diet, I found out that I have a sensitivity to corn and corn products. I have found that I need to read all food labels carefully since corn, corn starch, and corn syrup are in so many processed foods. Eliminating corn from my diet has helped to decrease the frequency and intensity of the episodes. I also lost a little weight too by eliminating corn syrup from my diet. Since you may never be able to eliminate the possibility of small bowel obstructions forever, you can try to get some control over this. At the first sign of not feeling quite right in the gut, especially after a meal (I have learned to be ultra sensitive for this first symptom), I stop eating and drinking except for small amounts of clear, warm fluids (i.e., decaffeinated tea). Sometimes having a heating pad on my belly can help to not only ease the cramping but can help to relax my gut enough to get it untwisted (which can take a few hours). The most important thing is to accept it and your friends and family can help support you with this. By accepting your condition, you become like a person with diabetes who needs to learn to control the condition rather than fight it. Better control leads to a much happier outcome.
9 Aug 2012
Have they check for diverticulosis or diverticulitis. The diverticula are tiny pockets in the bowels that can get food in them, get infected and swell up and cause blockages. There is a list of foods not suggests for those with diverticulosis. They include things that have seeds in them, tomatoes, berries, nuts of any kind and other foods. You can look for the list or ask your dr, nd if you do have diverticulitis, you will need antibiotics and this diet to avoid aggravating these pockets. Best of luck, patti
25 Apr 2014
Janice, I have had more than 50 small bowel obstructions (sbos) in the past 15 years. At one time, I was hospitalized every month for conservative treatment of a complete obstruction primarily caused by adhesions. I am treated at one of the largest hospitals in Northern Virginia, but surgeons repeatedly told me that there was nothing I could do to prevent a recurrence except eat frequent, small meals instead of three large ones daily, and chew my food very well.
Then, three years ago, a surgeon who operated on me to repair a hernia causing some recent sbos, and who also lysed surface adhesions, ordered a post-surgery dietary consult. The dietitian strongly recommended that I follow a low residue diet, and that I liquefy as much of my food as possible, using a blender. I had never heard of a low residue diet, but I currently follow it religiously. I use a juicer, and the majority of my meals are the consistency of full liquids. I noted a remarkable improvement in my condition immediately. I now suffer from sbos every six months or so, rather than monthly, and they are not as severe. But I eat no fresh fruits and vegetables, no nuts or popcorn and nothing similar. I found that even eating fresh fruits and vegetables in a liquid form caused obstructions. The critical issue for me seems to be the fiber content of food, rather than the form (liquid vs. solid).
It is not easy following this diet but, for the first time in many years, I do not live with the daily fear that I will develop a sbo. I didn't realize how scared I was, and how the fear that I would have another obstruction permeated every aspect of my life until after I adopted this diet and I found myself relaxing more often.
I have learned that, even though I am treated at one of the "best" hospitals in the nation, most surgeons do not know how to effectively diagnose and manage sbos. It is essential that I learn as much as I can, and I now read medical papers published about sbos. I always have a CT scan without oral contrast for diagnosis, and I am then treated with IV meds for pain and nausea (I use a pain pump from admission until the hour I am discharged because it gives me more control, and more relief). Finally, I always use an NG tube even when the doctors give me the option not to when I have proximal obstructions with little bloating. The NG tube markedly reduces my pain, and it also significantly reduces my inpatient recovery time. I can only tolerate this tube for days if the smallest possible size is used. (I have found that most nurses automatically insert one of the largest width tubes but these are extremely uncomfortable, and there is no significant benefit to using this instead of a smaller tube. It would only be necessary to use a larger tube if you have "chunky" stomach or intestinal contents, which is generally not the case.) I also monitor my suctioned fluids, and have the tube removed as soon as this fluid level drops.
When advancing my diet, I start with ice chips, and then sips of liquid, to make sure that I can tolerate the intake. Anything larger might set me back a day or two if I start on liquids too quickly. (I also monitor my bowel sounds - I have found that, even if I am feeling better, I can't tolerate liquids without increased pain if I do have markedly reduced bowel sounds.)
Finally, when inpatient I try to make it as comfortable as possible for myself. For example, it is routine in my hospital to draw blood from patients every morning at about five am. But most of these results are not needed by my surgeons, so I have these orders canceled so I can sleep unless the doctor tells me he specifically needs the blood tests on a particular day (he generally does want them again before I am discharged.) Another example of what I do to maximize comfort is that I ask the nurses to give me about an hour's notice before I leave the unit for xrays. This allows me to use both nausea and pain medicine so they take full effect when I am moving around. Nurses may say they can't tell you this timing, but the xray department absolutely can give them this information.
So, to summarize, I have found educating myself about the diagnosis and treatment of sbos has helped me enormously to manage recurrences. Also, adopting a strict low residue diet, and eating food in a liquid form when possible, has significantly reduced the number of recurrences I have. Finally, working with my doctors and nurses to plan inpatient stays has reduced the time I spend in the hospital, and made it more comfortable. I used to rely on my doctors almost exclusively to tell me what to do, and when, to manage and treat my sbos, but I have benefited enormously from doing my own research, and actively planning both my inpatient and outpatient treatment with my doctor.
I hope the foregoing helps, and I would be pleased to answer any additional questions that you may have. Reading about your situation, which is so similar to my own experiences, certainly helps me to feel encouraged because we are not alone facing these challenges. Mary
3 Jul 2015
I had a severe bowel stricture(diagnosed as crohn disease) and nothing working for me including immune system suppressors.
Finally I found out resveratrol which exists in grape seed.
It also exist in some kind of white wines with different ratio.
I used it for one year and observed considerable improve in my health starting from the first week.
You can try and see the results...
I just wanted to share this information with people who have similar symptoms with me and have no hope about cure.
I hope it works also for you.
8 Jul 2015
Hi everyone, I have had 5 bowel obstructions. The first one was in 2004- 2008 -2012 this three I had to use the NG tube with no surgery. the 4th one with no NG tube the last one which was in March 2015 I had to undergo surgery now.. I have been told to eat alot of fiber which i believe has caused 3rd constipation since the surgery... I been getting pressured in the anal and once i take laxatives such as enema or magnesium citrate big chunk of stool come out and i feel relieved... is this because of the high fiber diet? i would really appreciate feedback.. :(
25 Dec 2013
Janice, look into massage theropist in your area that specialize in or know the technic called Visceral Manipulation. Eating right & diet are important, but after so many surgeries, I would say, you def have built up scar tissue in your abdominal area. Scar tissue grows and can wrap itself around your intestines causing an obstruction. It's a double edged sword; surgery is what fixes obstructions, (some) obstructions are caused by scar tissue from surgeries. Visceral manipulation is a technic done by experienced theropist that massage the abdominal area breaking up &/or releasing scar tissue. I have had 2 bowel obstruction & were also told there is nothing I can do to prevent it. However, I believe in this greatly!!! Also take supplements &/or eat foods that are natural anti-inflammatories. Blessings!
13 May 2015
Not an answer just a story.
I am reading your comments because I recently had experienced some pain spells not sure what they are because they go away as quickly as they come one the most recent one causing me to start vomiting. The reason I think it may be a sbo is because in July of 2013 my sister died from septic shock caused by a sbo (no clue if this is most likely to run in families?). She was 44. They never placed an NG tube and never made it to surgery. She had never had an obstruction before but autopsy showed scar tissue resulting in a strangulated bowel with 120 cm of necrotic bowel. She originally went in to the hospital monday evening and died earlier wednesday morning so it was very quick.
My question/point is... I see some of you saying dont go to hospital until start vomiting. This scares me!! I havent made it to the hospital because my pain goes away pretty quickly (usually within an hour). I have been on my way to the er and things will loosen and pain goes away so what am I supposed to say then? But for those of you who know what it is, please dont get complacent about it. I know it is something thst you deal with regularly and I dont mean to scare any of you but please please be careful. This can make you very sick very fast which I am sure all of you know but I just want to tell some of you to please not wait to go to the hospital if you know this is your problem. While I understand an NG tube is miserable, maybe had they placed one in my sister they would have realized she was sicker then they thought.
Maybe this post makes no sense I just feel like some of these posts have been sort on nonchalant and i just want to warn everyone that if it isn't managed correctly it can be more then very serious. Best wishes to you all.
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