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Intestinal Obstruction

What is Intestinal Obstruction?

Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through your small intestine or large intestine (colon). Causes of intestinal obstruction may include scar tiissue in the abdomen that form after surgery, intestinal inflammation, diverticulitis, hernias and colon cancer.

Without treatment, the blocked parts of the intestine can create a build up of pressure that can cause the intestine to rupture and leak toxins into the abdominal cavity.  An untreated intestinal obstruction can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction?

  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Severe bloating
  • Severe cramping
  • Severe pain in the abdomen

How is Intestinal Obstruction diagnosed?

Blood Test
A complete blood count blood test will be done to check for white blood cell increase due to infection. 

The colonoscopy is done to examine the internal colon and rectum.

Imaging Tests
Abdominal imaging tests are done with ultrasound, x-ray or CT scan to check for inflammation or abdominal abscesses. Chest imaging tests are done to rule out pneumonia, which cause similar symptoms.

Physical Examination
The abdomen is examined for tenderness or swelling and for the presence of lumps. A stethescope may also be used to check the bowel for any abnormal sounds.

Urine Test
Urine tests may be done to rule out a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones.


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Dr. Chew Min Hoe

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