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

Bowel Obstruction

Alternate Names : Intestinal Obstruction

Bowel Obstruction | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

A person with a bowel obstruction may require fluid through an intravenous line, or IV. This is a needle that is placed in a blood vessel in the arm or had to deliver fluids directly into the blood stream. Antibiotics may be needed as well.

A nasogastric tube is often put through the nose into the stomach to help decompress the bowels. The person is usually advised not to eat or drink anything. An enema, or fluid injected into the bowel to cause the bowels to move, may be used for hard stool.

Sometimes a procedure called endoscopy is used if volvulus is the cause. This involves inserting a small tube through the anus and into the bowel. The tube allows the bowel to decompress and untwist itself in some cases. Surgery may be required to fix an obstruction. This may involve destroying scar tissue wrapped around the bowel or even removing a segment of the bowel.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions, stomach upset or other side effects. This depends on the antibiotic used. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection and even death.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

If the bowels become unblocked and the underlying condition is corrected, the person is often cured. Once an individual can eat and have bowel movements, he or she is usually able to leave the hospital. Someone with cancer may die, even after the blockage is corrected, if treatment for the cancer is unsuccessful.

How is the condition monitored?

If the underlying cause of the bowel obstructiion is fixed, no further monitoring may be needed. Repeated x-rays may be done in some cases. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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Bowel Obstruction: Prevention & Expectations


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

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