Paralytic ileus; Intestinal volvulus; Bowel obstruction; Ileus; Pseudo-obstruction – intestinal; Colonic ileus
Definition of Intestinal obstruction
Intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the bowel that results in the failure of the intestinal contents to pass through.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Obstruction of the bowel may due to:
Signs and tests
While listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope, your health care provider may hear high-pitched bowel sounds at the onset of mechanical obstruction. If the obstruction has persisted for too long or the bowel has been significantly damaged, bowel sounds decrease, eventually becoming silent.
Treatment involves placing a tube through the nose into the stomach or intestine to help relieve abdominal distention and vomiting.
The outcome varies with the cause of the obstruction.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/29/2010