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Bowel Obstruction

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A bowel obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of your intestine. Your small or large intestine may be affected. The blockage prevents food and waste from passing through normally.

Digestive Tract

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

Medicines

may be given for infection, pain, and to prevent nausea or vomiting.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may show if you have an infection, or if you are dehydrated. Dehydration can develop when your intestines cannot absorb liquid properly.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI may show the location and cause of your blockage. You may be given contrast liquid to help the blockage show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

Treatment:

  • A nasogastric tube may be put into your nose. The tube passes through your throat and is guided into your stomach. The tube will be attached to a suction device that removes air and fluid from your stomach.
  • Surgery may be done to treat the cause of the blockage.

RISKS:

Your risk for another bowel obstruction is higher. Decreased blood flow to your intestines may cause the tissues to die. The pressure inside your intestine may cause the intestine to rupture. This may cause a life-threatening infection.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Bowel Obstruction (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.