If you’re unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas, you may have something blocking your small or large intestine. This is more than constipation. A bowel obstruction keeps food and fluid from passing through normally. If enough food, fluid and gas build up behind the obstruction, your intestine can rupture, causing a life-threatening situation.
There are several things that can block your intestine:
Symptoms can include cramping, loss of appetite, vomiting, bloating, constipation (full blockage) or diarrhea (partial blockage).
If you have constant, severe pain, call your doctor immediately. It could be an emergency if the blood supply has been cut off or if there’s a hole in your intestines.
Your doctor will likely start with a physical exam to check your belly for swelling and tenderness. You may also have an abdominal X-ray or a CT scan, which can help find a blockage and determine how severe it is.
Many cases of bowel obstruction are treatable. Depending on the blockage, there are a few options:
Regardless of the severity of your blockage, you can rest assured Mercy is ready to care for you. You and your gastroenterologist will work together to develop a treatment plan so you can get back to living life to the fullest as fast as possible.