Obstruction or Blockage in the Digestive Tract

How to recognise the symptoms of a partial or full obstruction, and what to do in the event you suspect you may have either

In reply to a question on the message board :

Partial blockage

If anyone thinks they have a blockage I would advise them to get in contact with their doctor or hospital without delay. Although a partial blockage can have the same signs as a full blown you can sometimes still have slight D or 'pencil like poops', bearable pain in a localised area, (sometimes with a lump) , bowel sounds ( either top or bottom not usually both), nausea but not sickness and be unaware of this serious complication. You will first notice an increase in pain , and a slowing down of BM's/gas often with nausea. You may think you are constipated but :

If you suspect you may be suffering from a partial blockage:

* NEVER TAKE LAXATIVES as this can cause the bowel to obstruct fully, laxatives affect the mobility of the intestines which can be dangerous when obstructed.
* Do not take constipating pain medication
* It may be safe to use a stool softener such as LACTULOSE or a GLYCERINE SUPPOSITORY but only when you are fully informed and experienced with obstructions and after you have been checked over by your doctor..
* Stop eating , go onto liquids or soups but keep hydrated with water.
* Dehydration can make it worse.
* Keep an eye on your temperature, pulse and bowel sounds.
* Examine the stomach to see if it's hard , swollen and whether you have
spring back pain when you push and release.
* Phone the Doctor or ER (even if you have been seen that day) if your bowel sounds stop , the stomach swells, the pain increases or you have projectile vomitting.

(I've had peritonitis twice from leaving it too long. You can't mess around ---
self medicate or leave it especially if you haven't had one before and unaware of the signs/symptoms or how your body reacts)..

A partial blockage can very quickly turn into a full blown obstruction


It can change to full blown within mins or stay the same for days so you can't take a chance as obstructions are dangerous.

The Tell Tale Signs Of A Full Blown Obstructon Are :

You May experience some but not all !!!!!

* Hard swollen tum

* No bowel sounds - top or bottom - this is a real warning sign

* Sickness, unable to keep even water down (You can even throw up poop) Although if the obstruction is low down and you haven't been eating, sickness does not always occur.

* Rapid pulse

* High or Elavated temperature

* Terrible Pain with contractions
* The pain is not in one area but starts under the breast area and across the whole abdomen
* A Hard lump appearing usually where the blockage is although at times the stomach is too swollen to see.

Again as someone who has suffered from these & gone from partial to full blown without warning I can't stress strongly enough, that a person must get checked over, as soon as possible.

The hospital will perform a physical examination, listen for bowel sounds , check you pulse and heart , take bloods and perform an x-ray to detect a build up of gas in the bowel behind a stricture or obstruction. site.

A partial with the proper medical care can be monitored and often treated with bowel rest, fluids , (sometimes IV steroids) and pain medication - whilst a full blown obstruction nearly always requires surgery