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!
Good grief, that's a lot of pain and obstructions. The only suggestions I might have, you've most assuredly heard before. Increase fiber, fruit, lots of water, maybe probiotics. As my father was a surgeon, I learned a long time ago, bowel obstructions are no walk in the park. I hope you find an answer to your problem.
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?
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
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.
Hi Janice- I had an lapeoscopic appendectomy in July 2009 and within two weeks experienced a small bowel obstruction resulting caused by adhesions resulting in a bowel ressection. The part of the bowel affected was necrotic and therefore needed to be removed (about 2ft). In order to determine the damage they initially explored my abdomen laproscopically but ended up having to open me with a midline incision. They chose to use a subcutaneous suture so the scar would be more aesthetically pleasing. A day after my discharge from the hospital I was readmitted with a wound infection. Since the subcutaneous suture was one continuous suture they had to remove it (while I was awake and without pain meds). This only created more scar
Tissue. I was put on a wound vac to help with the infection but was readmitted to the hospital within a week for C.diff. It took months to rid myself of the c.diffile. This month (Sept 2012) I went to the ER experiencing symptoms of yet another bowel obstruction. It was ruled as a partial obstruction and they inserted an NG tube to help eliminate what was being produced in my stomach. After 5 days of watchful waiting and no improvement they decided surgery was the best option. Again, they first tried to explore and treat laprascopically but unfortunately needed to re-enter with a new (cutting out my old scar) midline incision. They performed a Lysis of Adhesions and freed my bowel of the looping band of scar tissue that had obstructed my bowel. This time there was no need to remove any bowel. Staples were used this time and I was happy because they needed to treat part of my wound with silver nitrate because it wouldn't stop bleeding post operation. This time, because it was stapled instead of sutured subcutaneously, they were able to pop out about 7 staples and only treat the specific location needing the cauterizing. I would highly recommend staples to anyone because of this. I was told that my bowel obstructions have been caused by adhesions and that each surgery to repair the bowel and/or remove scar tissue will only result in the creation of more scar tissue. Unfortunately I'm just waiting until the next SBO strikes. I have done a lot of reading of scholarly articles on the topic and some indicate that the chances do recurrence increase with each subsequent SBO caused by adhesions (that result in surgery). The only non-invasive therapy that I can find literature on is the "Wurn Technique" which attempts to stretch adhesional bands and decrease the chances of recurrence as well as diminish pain associated with abdominal adhesions. I am only 29 years old and am very discouraged when I think about how many years of potential SBOs I have left. I am encouraged, however, that there is a Support group for us to discuss out experiences, treatments and findings. I wish you luck and hope that one of us will be able to find relief and share with others in this community.
I feel your pain. I am lying in a hospital bed right now with my eighth partial obstruction. It has only gotten more painful each time. The NG tube is like my most hated friend. I hate it, but I couldn't live without it, you know? Stay away from corns, seeds, skins, red meat, veggies and fiber. I tried a gastroparesis diet for a while and it really helped but your doctor is right, there is no rhyme or reason to obstructions and no real way to avoid them. I hope you are better now. My prayers to you.
I'm overwhelmed by all the helpful information given by everyone, plus a little scared. I'm sitting in the hospital right now; anticipating probable surgery tomorrow, for my 2nd intestinal blockage. I had my first (which nearly cost me my life), in March of 2012.
I'm very healthy, I exercise, and eat all the "right foods"--- salads, raw veggies, almonds, fruits, etc... Did I say "right foods?", apparently not. I even stopped eating meat 7 months ago.
The first time I found out (after the surgery more than a year ago), that I was more prone to another blockage, was yesterday in the ER.
So after my surgery, I'm worried this may all happen again. The only thing I'm grateful for this time, is no NG tube. I've been threatened with it but have been able to keep them from giving it to me.
I plan on taking all this advice.
Anything else that may be helpful is most appreciated. So our your prayers.
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.
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!
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!
It has been a while since you posted, and I hope you're doing well! I am 36, and just recently went through a major bowel obstruction (my first), emergency surgery, and a lengthy stay in the hospital. I concur that this is definitely the most painful thing I have ever been through. My surgeon was wonderful, and spent tons of time with me, discussing everything. He also told me there really isn't much you can do to "prevent" this from happening, and that with every surgery, your chances of re-obstructing are that much greater. He said extra fiber, fruits, etc. are encouraged, but the way your insides move around, there's no way of knowing what can happen. One thing he did say, that was surprising to me, and my parents (one who has diverticulitis, and the other who had colon cancer after years of ulcerative colitis), is that there is no truth, in his medical opinion, to seeds, nuts, etc. having a negative effect on your organs.
He said he has been studying this for many years, and has never seen, in ANY of his surgeries, nuts or seeds locked in the colon or pockets. Again, this is just his view, but interesting none the less. Anyhow, I am currently sitting at a 60% chance of re-obstructing, and have been told if it is to happen, it will happen sooner rather than later. He said there is no scientific reasoning behind why it is this way, but obstructions tend to happen one after the next, and usually within a year of each other, and the longer time passes, the percentages tend to drop.
I did ask if kickboxing (or any other physical activities of that sort) can be a problem, since my obstruction happened 2 days after I started classes. He replied that, unfortunately, he couldn't answer that with a yes or no. I guess I can say I'm grateful to know how it feels, and what to expect, although it's scary to think of it happening again! I don't have much advice, but thought I'd share with you my experience, and what was told to me.
Again, I hope you've been well, and haven't had to go through it again. I know after multiple surgeries, you can get to a point where obstructions are unavoidable, and only therapy can help. Let's hope it never gets to that point!
Best wishes to you!
I understand what you are going through because I am currently going through it myself. This is my 7th obstruction. I will NEVER get used to the NG tube, but my thinking is always without it I'm in pain. I have asked doctors what I can do to prevent future occurrences and to tell you the truth, I get mixed answers. Some say more fiber, some say less fiber.
I gotta tell you this disease is so frustrating, cruel, unpredictable and relentless. The actions I plan on taking are becoming more educated about what food I put in my system. No more greasy, fatty hard to digest foods, also no hardcore raw veggies and fruits as this can cause a blockage. Drinks lots of water and personally I'm thinking of speaking with a nutritionist.
I am learning just like you and I pray that both of us don't have to feel this pain anytime soon. You are not alone.
I how this helped to some extent
For those indicating fiber to prevent bowel obstruction. PLEASE do some research 1st & know what the obstructions are related to. Bowel adhesions cause twisting & displacement of the bowel, Even very tortuous colons cause a slowing of the movement of particles & more time for water to be reabsorbed back into body. Imagine taking a water hose & twisting it & kinking it. Now pour in fiber then add water you now have yourself a huge ball of fiber that is rapidly growing because it cannot pass forward. I have been dealing with adhesions since 19yrs of age. I had no prior surgeries, but the pain came in waves like labor pains & it did intensify during menstration. No Dr. believed me & I would not even consider a colonoscopy, I tried seeing gynecologist but because I was not pregnant none of our Dr's were taking new patients.
Finally at 21 after moving to Texas & several trips to ER & getting a gynecologist on board, thinking it was gynecologically related, he did laparoscopic surgery & found a few small cyst on ovaries, mild endometriosis & per Dr. "her colon was twisted & grown around the back side of her pelvis so I cut it lose & put it back in place". Skip forward 23 years I have had 2 C-sections (no regrets there, saved my babies lives) 4 separate surgeries for what I thought was gynecologically related pain because they would identify cyst or fibroid tumors & each time per the Dr "oh & her colon was twisted all around & grown up over her pelvis so I cut it lose & stapled it all back in place". After each surgery I was tremendously better for a few years, then came 2011. I awoke with what felt like the worst labor like pains ever, I was not pregnant, I had a previous hysterectomy. Went to the ER & a subsequent colonoscopy was attempted. They could not even complete the full colonoscopy because they could not get through, even after using a pediatric scope. The GI Dr said it was the worst colon he had seen in his 20yrs. Yes diverticulitis but remember it is thought to be caused from increased pressure from constipation, adhesions & twisting of the colon cause increased pressures (remember the water hose kinked off, water pressure increases with smaller opening). Gi doc took out 13 inches if my colon, lab studies indicated I had had two previous bowel perforations that had healed on there own. Gi doc asked if I knew what pain was, yes I know pain & if I ever say im in pain, you better listen... Flash forward 2.5 years later, I live in CHRONIC ACUTE like pain, GI doc said it was impossible he fixed it. If I knew then what I knew now. Yes he cut out the severely diseased portion of the colon but what makes him think that he did something that the other dr's have been doing over & over with each surgery. For those reading this & saying thats why you shouldn't have surgery it causes adhesions REMEMBER I had NEVER had surgery when the 1st Dr. Peeked in & found what looked like a pile of spaghetti... I have no answers but small meals, I can do lettuce, greens, cabbage, broccoli, but NO carrots or apples or other high fiber fruits & vegetables & I live off mag citrate till another bowel perforation & despite the pain I get up & go to work EVERY DAY! I get up & move everyday, I have figured im going to hurt but the less I move, the less it moves, so I move, slowly but I move, I cant whip out my house cleaning in a day, it takes me 3, I cant scour through my flower beds & clean & plant them all in a weekend, it takes me 3, but I move. I will NOT lie down & quit!
I have experienced bowel obstructions.my surgeon adviced me to eat small portions throughout the day.instead of a big meal at meal times.the last time I had an obstruction was in sept of this yr.so I have taken his advice and its helping feel less bloated.that way if I do get in trouble again It wouldn't make as sick.I have read you shouldn't eat an high fiber diet with an history of bo's
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