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!
Intestinal Obstruction - had 4th bowel obstruction..how can I prevent future bowel obstructions?
Question posted by janicewid on 8 Aug 2012
Last updated on 18 June 2018
This was a very long time ago,it's now 2018.Five years ago I had an operation for a twisted bowel which my GP had been treating me for IBS some three years.Agree the pain is awful,even though I'm male likely worse than child birth.My main consultant did not want to operate for two reasons,1 had a history of nose bleeds,2 had a stroke twelve years earlier but found a surgeon who would do it.It went very well thanks to him and his team,although there was a danger I could end up with a bag for waste but was lucky did not.Not too much more i can add.
One of the posts here mentioned Serrapeptase(supplement) as a possible solution. There are some high potentency options on Amazon. I ordered one to give it a try. Serrapeptase eats away at dead tissue and has been used in Japan extensively.
While researching serrapeptase, I came across the earthclinic website which catalogs many natural remedies. They mentioned castor oil packs as another possible solution. The solution on their site is covered under "Abdominal Adhesions" .
Third option I found is visceral massaging. There are several videos on youtube demonstrating how to do this.
I’ve had over 45 small bowel obstructions as the result of prior colon resection which created massive scar tissue and adhesive bands that strabgukated the small bowel requiring small bowel resection due to 19 cm of ischemic small bowel. I have seen so many surgeons and GI specialists over the last years. My advice to everyone who has suffered from these awful, painful maladies is to eat A VERY LOW RESIDUE DIET. No more than 3 grams of fiber daily. Absolutely no FRUIT and NO VEGETABLES. Those are the worst of all culprits. No whole grains and only white flour rice pasta and breads. Stay away from gas forming foods also as they irritate the small bowel and the colon. This is your only hope of prevention and sometimes rarely this doesn’t work
I just came home from my second small bowel obstruction in two months. What can be done? Walking and diet help but are not cures. I may have another hopefully not for awhile. I have had 8 obstructions in all. For me being taken off food and having a terrible angiotube help but are painful. The doctors are like sharks ready to cut you open. So far, getting off all foods and liquids start to break up the obstruction so i can go home.
More surgery causes more scar tissues. Not to scare you or i but i hope the obstructions aren't becoming closer in occurrence.
I have been told that eventually the obstruction will not go away and i will need surgery.
How much can the body take over time? Wish i could give you more positive hope.
I was talking with a friend from church because I often get pains in my gut. I was worried because I really want to avoid an obstruction. My friend has had two obstruction surgeries, and her doctor doesn't want to operate any more, cause he could just make things worse. Her doctor recommended a manual physical therapy to decrease adhesions in the abdomen. Those internal scars seems to be a major cause of obstructions. The way she explained it to me, the more surgeries you get, the more adhesions you get; it just happens that way - which is awful for people who have the surgery. She told me the therapy did great for her. Apparently, there have been some studies published noting that the manual physical therapy is effective. I can ask her the name of the place, but it's probably just as easy for you to Google "bowel obstruction physical therapy." If it was me, I'd also Google search reviews on whatever place you find. Let me know what you find.
I had 3 obstructions each year for 3 years:
One of my surgeons suggested to have a opted surgery. ( having to go under with a diluted bowel) to remove adhesions caused from previous surgeries.It resulted in a 5 hr surgery cutting away many adhesions that where going to probably cause more problems in the future.
It has been a yr now and so far I haven’t had any problems, although the surgeon did not say he couldn’t guarantee I am completely out of the woods but a lot less at risk.
Hope this helps.
I was just released from the hospital yesterday after 6 days being treated for my 10th small bowel obstruction over a period of 7 years. I don't mind being NPO but the NG Tubes are something that I am very familiar with and not very fond of. My surgeon also says that food does not cause small bowel obstructions. I'm not sure that I believe him. Surgeons only know surgery and are not a good source of GI and dietary information. I have also had three small bowel surgeries for total blockages in that same period of time that have left me full of scar tissue, adhesions, and a twisted small bowel with 3 or 4 splices in it where sections were removed. I have given up eating salads because I don't always remember to chew enough. I believe that the obstruction I had Thanksgiving of 2016 was caused by the salad that I ate the day before. I gave up eating steak after the obstruction I had in 2015 and recently started enjoying sirloin tips again.
I had a fine meal of sirloin tips the day before my latest obstruction. So, I would say that food and how well you chew it makes a difference. I also believe that the style of anastomosis (the way bowel is sewn back together) is also a contributing factor. The surgeon that performed my July 2017 surgery only uses the "side to side" style because it cannot narrow like an "end to end" joining can, and has for me. My latest x-rays and CT Scan show that one of my splices has narrowed. For me that indicates that I had better get serious about diet modifications if I want to avoid any more obstructions. I am 72 years old and I don't think that I can survive any more abdominal surgeries. (sorry this reply was so long. I hope that the information does help someone.)
Hi I'm in exactly the same boat, I've had 4 bowel obstructions n the last 11mos. Mine are due to an exploratory surgery 10 years ago. I've also been told there's nothing i can do to prevent them and have been searching for anything that'll help. I've heard low fiber as well. It's confusing and frustrating I'm sick of ng tubes and regular hospital visits.
I am now on number 6 and no-one seems to be able to give me an answer! I too am implorig anyone who knows how to avoid another NG please give some guidance, this is the worst thing you will face as an ongoing medical procedure! All l need is one more professional telling me how easy it is when they have never had one!
Jesus Really helps, including your diet, your water intake, and a good amount of movement and making sure not to push and as people said about chewing your food really good and also maintaining all those. Its hard but its why we have Jesus, he helps us have the stremgth to learn and maintain.
I hope I helped, im not that smart and anything I do know is thanks to him.
I hope things go well for you and lets cross our fingers and hope you dont get another one.
I'm so sorry that you've had to go through all those bowel obstruction's . I'm 61 years old now, but back at the later half of 2014 and the first 2015, I had 5 of those bad things, one on New Years, like to have took me out. I know exactly what your talking about, when wondering if another one will be lerking around the corner, as it happened to me last October right out of the blue... I guess I never thought about being Proactive, it kinda happened naturally as I learned a bad habit and that was not to eat. If you will remember, the last thing in the hospital they let you do is eat. And you more than likely didn't want it, at least I didn't and I never again had a hunger pain. I've had to make myself eat. Here I am in the 21st Century and living in AMERICA, and guess what, I found myself diagnosis with being malnourished!!! I had lost 80 pounds and looked like I was 100 year's old, skin hanging all over the place.
And I didn't realize it, I was just glad I wasn't have a bowel obstruction. I'm drinking my protein drinks now, after getting so weak I couldn't get out of bed,but I'm trying to get better. Right this very moment as I write this to you, my upper stomach is bloated, and yes I get scared, that will never go away, but I know I've taken my Miralax and I'm plenty hydrated, which I've learned is a key factor. One more thing, my doctor gives me a RX for suppositories. When things don't move, I make them move, sometime's a little gas goes a long way... LOL!!!
I'm in the same boat.. I'm looking for answers a well???
Here is an account of my experiences with bowel obstruction due to adhesions from previous surgery (caesarean 25 years ago, gallbladder removal 15 years ago). I had been having abdominal pain like labour pains, increasing in intensity and shortening intervals, each time necessitating visits to the ER, but doctors could not find anything This happened about 6 times over a period of ten years. Then three years ago i had another episode which was so bad that an ambulance was called. after a Ct scan they discovered it was a blockage and decided to operate. Scar tissue had got wrapped around the intestine, which they released. After about a year i started having similar milder symptoms again, but now that I knew what this pain had been about, I did a lot of research, and have found that the following help, as many people here have also mentioned:
Magnesium supplements relax the muscles, so taking these helps ward off any uncomfortableness
At the first sign of pain, that strange twinge, stop eating and drinking.
Massaging the abdomen (upward on right side, across and then downwards, with light pressure), often brings on relief and bowel movement.
I have also seen that eating large amounts of food at once causes symptoms, as does eating almonds, high fibre food like wholewheat bread, psyllium seed husks (after someone advised me to take it because "it is healthy for the gut"), too much (cooked?) cheese as in pizza.
I specifically want to mentuion that I had a very bad experience after eating persimmons (Kaki fruit), narrowly missing surgery. After researching I found that it is often a cause of blockages in people and horses!
One other thing: I have had a missing upper molar tooth on the right , and painful teeth on the left side (fear of dentists) for many years, resulting in insufficient chewing of food, which may also have contributed to my bowel problems.
I was told by a doctor that I have a longer than normal intestine.
So all these factors may contribute.
Recently I have been experimenting with Thiosinaminum 30 C (homeopathic), it has certainly helped bring relief whenever I felt I couldn't "go". This remedy is used for dissolving scar tissue.
I hope this information will help people.
I have had big success avoiding SBOs for the past four years after having about two per year for the previous six of seven years. I have no way of knowing if what I have done will work for others, but if like me, you have only heard “there isn’t much you can do to prevent it” from doctors, then I don’t think there is much risk in trying this or something similar.
My SBOs are caused by adhesions from cancer surgery followed by chemo and radiation, 20 years ago now. The SBO problem started about 10 years after treatment. I have been told that surgery scar tissue combined with radiation can often present problems even ten years later.
My wife and I happened see the BBC documentary “The power of intermittent fasting” with Michael Mosley in 2012. We were interested in losing weight, getting my lipid numbers down so that I could stop taking statins and looking for diet changes that might help prevent SBO.
Since then, we are doing what is often called a 5/2 fast. We eat normally, but sensibly, keeping carb intake pretty low 5 days a week. Almost no pasta and a lot less bread than normal. Other than that, we are pretty flexible. Two days a week, Monday and Thursday, we eat no carbs and keep our calorie intake to about 500 or 600 calories for the day. Salad or clear soup and a little protein. Those are the fasting days. On fasting days, I drink a lot of water and coffee and tea to keep me from being hungry. It really isn’t that hard.
From the time I started doing this, four years now, I have not been in the ER/hospital at all! Only a couple of times have a had an issue at home that kept me in bed and on liquids for a day or two. That is a huge improvement over the ER and hospital stays. One time I was on an NG tube for four days - not fun. It seems that the fasting allows my system to rest and clear things out a little.
I’ll explain more if others are interested. I am not a doctor! I don’t claim to know if this will work for others, but it is a simple non-invasive diet change. It seems like it is working very well for me. Why not try it?
I know this is a really old post but I'm hoping it helps others with the same issue. I have scar tissue built up in my intestine due to surgery from a car accident. There's a spot where my bowel opening is very narrow and thus has caused me to have numerous obstructions. The pain from these things is like nothing I've ever experienced. Anyway the last time I had a "major" one was after eating a giant bowl of raisin bran. Of course raisin bran has loads of fiber. Well i always thought fiber was good for preventing constipation and in general it is, but the ER doctor explained that if you are prone to obstructions, fiber is extremely bad! It is due to the fact that fiber expands in the intestine. Normally it helps act as a plunger to get food out but if you have scar tissue built up or kinks in your intestine where the space for food to go through is small, it just creates a giant unmovable ball that stops everything up.
He advised a low to no fiber diet and sure enough i have had very few problems since. One thing i can advise that has helped me is eating smaller more frequent meals. Also as some have suggested, chew your food well and eat slower. I love mozzarella cheese but that for me is a trigger, so when i do eat it, i try not to have a lot and i only have it once a week max. I've found if I eat it two days in a row i get the starts of a blockage. Same with certain fruits and vegetables. I eat them here and there but don't go crazy. Finally, you MUST listen to your body. This is really important. As soon as you start feeling a little blocked up (stomach bloat, gass pain, etc) take a stool softener like colace and really limit your portions and overall food intake. Especially don't eat any fiber or cheese during this time. It'll throw you over the edge. Also avoid laxatives. According to my doctors, laxatives are dangerous with blocakges. They can cause perforations. Only take stool softeners. As long as you catch this in the beginning, you'll be good. It usually takes me a couple days before my stomach gets back to normal but I've become very good at recognizing the starts of a blockage and taking the steps needed to prevent a full blown one. I haven't been to the ER in about 5 years whereas before it was once every 6 months or more. Hope this helps some people suffering from this. Believe me I know how bad this can be.
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