A bowel blockage, also called an intestinal obstruction, can prevent gas, fluids, or solids from moving through the intestines normally. It can cause constipation and, rarely, diarrhea. You may have pain, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
Most of the time, complete blockages require a stay in the hospital and possibly surgery. But if your bowel is only partly blocked, your doctor may tell you to wait until it clears on its own and you are able to pass gas and stool. If so, there are things you can do at home to help make you feel better.
If you have had surgery for a bowel blockage, there are things you can do at home to make sure you heal well. You can also make some changes to keep your bowel from becoming blocked again.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
If your doctor has told you to wait at home for a blockage to clear on its own:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: August 9, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
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