There are two major ways on how to loosen a bowel blockage. A bowel blockage, also called intestinal obstruction, can prevent gas, fluids, or solids from moving via the intestines normally. It can result in constipation and, rarely, diarrhea. You may have pain, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
A lot of the time, complete blockages need a stay in the hospital and possibly surgery. However, if your bowel is only partly blocked, your doctor may tell you to hold back until it clears on its very own. Which also depend on when you are able to pass gas and feces. If so, there are things you are able to do at home to help make you feel better.
Assuming you have had surgery for a bowel blockage, there are things you can do at home to ensure that you heal well. You also can make some changes to help keep your bowel from becoming blocked again.
Follow-up care is a major factor in your treatment and safety. Be sure to go to all appointments, and call your physician or nurse if you are having issues. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a record of the medicines that you take.
How is bowel blockage treated?
Majorly, treatment for your intestinal blockage will depend on the cause.
Should you have a complete blockage of the bowel, you will probably have to be hospitalized for treatment, which typically includes surgery or a procedure to open up the blockage.
- Surgery: When you are healthy enough for surgery, the area causing the blockage may need to be removed. The surgeon can also remove any tissue within your bowel that has died due to lack of blood flow.
- Stent: Here is the safer option for those who are too sick for emergency surgery. A stent created from wire mesh is positioned in the bowel at the area of the blockage to make the bowel open. This will enable the matter to move through again. Some people probably not need anything more than just a stent. Others may need surgery after they become stable.
How can you care for yourself at home?
Perhaps, your doctor may have told you to wait at home for a blockage to clear on its own; do the following:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions: These can include eating a liquid diet to avoid complete blockage.
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed: You can call your doctor or nurse line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
- Put a heating pad set on low on your belly to relieve mild cramps and pain.
To prevent another blockage
Try to eat a smaller quantity of food more often. For example, have 5 or 6 small meals every day instead of 2 or 3 large meals.
Chew your food perfectly well. Try to chew each bite about 20 times or until it is actually liquid.
Avoid high-fiber foods and raw fruit and veggies with skins, husks, strings, or seeds. These can form a ball of undigested material that could result in a blockage in case a part of your bowel is scarred or narrowed.
Check with physician before you eat whole-grain products or use a fiber supplement such as Benefiber or Metamucil.
In order to have regular bowel movements, eat at regular times, do not strain at the time of bowel movement. Also, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and also have to limit fluids, speak with your doctor. Particularly before you increase the quantity of fluids you drink.
Drink high-calorie liquid formulas if your physician says so. Severe symptoms may make it hard for the body to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Get consistent exercise. It helps you digest food better. Have at least a couple of hours of exercise in a week. Walking can be a good choice.
What are the causes of an intestinal blockage?
There are several ways that your bowel could become blocked:
- A part of your bowel may become twisted, this can close it off and stop anything from going through.
- The bowel can become inflamed and swell up.
- Scar tissue or a hernia is capable of making your bowel too narrow for anything to go through.
- A tumor or other kind of growth inside your bowel could block the passage.
- Damaged blood vessels leading to the bowel may also cause some bowel tissue to die.
- In most cases, inflammation, prior surgeries, or cancer may cause bowel obstruction. This is most likely to occur in older people.
Bowel obstructions may occur in the small or large intestine, but it has more chance to be in the small intestine. Some common causes are:
- Stomach cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Colon cancer
- Scar tissue from surgery
- Radiation to the abdominal area
- Advanced lung cancer, breast cancer, or melanoma that has spread to the bowel
What are the symptoms of an intestinal blockage?
Some symptoms of intestinal blockage are:
- Severe pain in your belly
- Severe cramping sensations in your belly
- Throwing up
- Feelings of fullness or swelling in your belly
- Loud sounds from your belly
- Feeling gassy, but being unable to pass gas
- Being unable to pass stool (constipation)
- How is an intestinal blockage diagnosed?
To diagnose your condition, your healthcare provider will consider:
- Your overall health and health history
- The location and intensity of any pain
- If there are changes in your bowel movements or appetite
- Whether there are any other unusual symptoms, such as digestive sounds or feelings of being bloated
- A physical exam
- The outcome of imaging tests, such as abdominal X-ray, barium contrast study, or CT.
What may be the possible complications of an intestinal blockage?
The complications of intestinal blockage can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to keep food or fluids down
- Death (but rare)
Living with an intestinal blockage?
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. If he or she has advised you to replace your diet as part of the treatment, stick to that plan. The goal of your diet is to lessen work that your digestive system has to do, while still giving you the nutrition you need.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
If you have symptoms associated with intestinal blockages, such as severe belly pain, vomiting, and inability to pass stool, get medical care right away.
Other times you can call your surgeon if you have:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Diarrhea that does not go away
- Pain that does not go away or is getting worse
- A swollen or tender belly
- Little or no gas or stools to pass
- Fever or chills
- Blood in your stool
Key points about intestinal blockage
An intestinal blockage happens when something blocks your intestinal tract.
If the intestine is totally blocked, it is a medical emergency needing immediate attention.
The symptoms of an intestinal blockage include severe belly pain or cramping. Others include vomiting, not being gable pass stool or gas, and other signs of belly distress.
Complications Bowel Blockage
Untreated, intestinal blockage can cause serious, life-threatening complications, including:
Tissue death: Intestinal obstruction can reduce blood supply to parts of your intestine. More so, lack of blood causes the intestinal wall to die. Tissue death can result in a tear in the intestinal wall, which could cause infection. Infection: Peritonitis is the basic medical term for an infection in the abdominal cavity. It is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical and typically surgical attention.