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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Bowel Obstruction
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Bowel Obstruction

Alternate Names : Intestinal Obstruction

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Bowel obstruction describes a blockage in the bowels.

What is going on in the body?

The bowels can become blocked for many reasons. When the bowels become blocked, the food and fluids taken in through the mouth become trapped inside the gut. Eventually, this leads to symptoms in an affected person.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Bowel obstruction can be caused by many different things. These include:

  • scar tissue in the belly, often called adhesions. This tissue can wrap around a piece of bowel. The contents of the bowel are prevented from moving normally through the intestine.
  • bowel that twists on itself or develops a bad kink. This is often called volvulus.
  • fecal impaction, or hard stool that cannot pass through the bowel
  • cancer, such as colon cancer or cancer of the pancreas
  • infection of the bowel. This can be from colitis, which is an infection of the colon lining, or diverticulitis, which is an infection of small pouches that can develop in the wall of the colon.
  • inflammation or swelling of the bowel from any cause. An example is inflammatory bowel disease, a condition without a known cause that results in inflammation of the intestines.
  • lack of blood supply to the bowel, such as from a condition called ischemic colitis


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    Bowel Obstruction: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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