Intestinal obstruction: symptoms, causes and treatment

Intestinal obstruction: symptoms, causes and treatment

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THE bowel obstruction occurs when feces are unable to pass through the intestine due to interference in its path. This condition, assessed as very serious, can have numerous causes and it is essential that it is treated as soon as possible to avoid complications.

  • Definition of intestinal obstruction

  • Symptoms

  • What are the causes?

  • How to diagnose intestinal obstruction

  • Treatment for intestinal obstruction

  • Complications of intestinal obstruction

Definition of intestinal obstruction

We talk about intestinal occlusion when feces find resistance to travel through the intestine, which may have intestinal bruises (scars), tumors or an inflammation, for example.


The most reported signs of intestinal obstruction are difficulty in evacuating or eliminating gases, as well as swelling of the belly, nausea, vomiting, absence of gas and / or feces, as well as abdominal pain.

What are the causes?

The reasons that give rise to intestinal obstruction are the absence of contractions of the intestine, due to neurological problems, inflammations or infections; torsion of part of the digestive system; tumors or accumulation of feces.

How to diagnose intestinal obstruction

The diagnosis is made through medical evaluation of the symptoms and palpation of the belly with the hands. It is also possible to use the stethoscope to identify whether the intestine is functioning correctly or not. Radiography or computed tomography help to confirm the specialist’s suspicion, indicating the location that is obstructed.

Treatment for intestinal obstruction

This very serious condition must be identified as soon as possible, as it requires urgent hospitalization. In general, treatment is done with drugs, either endoscopically or surgically, depending on the severity of the case.

Complications of intestinal obstruction

Because it is a very serious condition, intestinal occlusion, if left untreated, can lead to serious disorders of metabolism, perforation of the intestine and infections, necrosis of part of the digestive organ, shock and even the death of an intestinal segment .

Photo: © Tefi –

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