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Illness & Conditions - Definition

Bowel Obstruction

Bowel Obstruction

A bowel obstruction is a blockage in the intestines that prevents gas, fluids, or solids from moving through the intestines normally. Many different problems can cause a bowel obstruction. Some examples are scar tissue from previous surgeries (adhesions), certain types of hernias, cancer, twisting of the intestines (volvulus), or diverticulitis.

Symptoms of a bowel obstruction include:

  • Cramping abdominal (belly) pain. The pain may affect all or part of the belly area and may be severe.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • An inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.
  • Bloating.

A suspected bowel obstruction needs to be evaluated by a doctor. It may require medical or surgical treatment.

Current as of: April 29, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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