What happens if you have a bowel obstruction?

Have you ever experienced sudden abdominal pain, vomiting or bloating? Well, if you have not, then congratulations! You have been living a healthy gut life. But for those of us who have gone through the struggle of bowel obstruction, the thought alone brings back painful memories.

A bowel obstruction is basically what it sounds like; it’s when there’s a blockage in your intestine preventing food and waste from passing through. This backup blocks nutrient absorption and gas transfer leading to discomfort and nausea. So buckle up because we are about to take a deep dive into what happens when your bowels get clogged up.

Causes Of Bowel Obstruction:

First things first let’s talk about how this whole mess could’ve happened in the first place [1]:

  • Adhesion (Scar Tissue)
  • Cancer
  • Hernia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intussusception(The folding of one part of intestine on another)
  • Diverticulitis(Inflammation/Infection in any portion of colon)

One can also face functional obstructions, where chunks of semi-solid material called Feces form Blockages called fecal impactions that end ruling out most cases requiring medical attention

Symptoms That One May Face:

The symptoms could be acute or chronicle depending on severity but mostly turn into an emergency situation either way despite being handled by many gastrointestinal experts here they are[2]:

Warning Signs


  • Rapid onset Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting Severe enough tƒo result dehydration.
  • Constipation & Reduced stool Passage Time .
  • Uterine Pain( in certain women)


  • Atypical crampy variations/mild discomfort occurring over longer intervals known as intermittent ileus caused due to partial blockage risk increasing with age.
  • Intermittent vomiting, that could be easily controlled.This type being common among mostly the Elderly population.

Diagnosing The Condition:

The best case scenario when showing any bowel obstruction’s symptom should consult a healthcare professional. The doctor can root out an intestinal blockage through multiple testing methods[3]:

  • CT scan
  • Abdominal X-Ray- reveals air-fluid levels.
  • Colonoscopy(endoscopic procedure of examining the colon)

A person can also undergo exploratory Surgery(laparotomy) to locate any foreign object or cancerous growth causing these symptoms.

Complications That One Can Run Into

Unfortunately, just like every other medical condition there are several issues that may crop up at any point in time due to lack of diagnosis/treatment on time :

  1. Dehydration: When experiencing prolonged vomiting &Nausea leads to decreased fluid intake.

  2. Peritonitis :-Intestinal perforation which leakage into abdominal cavity Bloodstream Poisoning(as septicemia).

  3. Malnutrition:- An unpleasant side effect arising from diarrhea and persistent vomiting leading to insufficient nutrient absorption hence weight loss may occur.

  4. Colorectal Cancer:-

        A Bowel Obstruction Caused by Tumours obstructs Nutrient Flow/Symptoms coexisting with           Introduction of Faecal material while performing  End Unit Treatment( Surgery)

Treatment Options:

Just as there is a wide range of causes and complications for bowel obstructions, there are equally good options for treatment as well [4].


    if you're lucky enough not have extremely severe Bowel blockages who knows you might need one         other than trying initial usage Of Broad-spectrum Antibiotics alongside Diet Modifications.


However, surgical intervention gradually shifts its way down therapy timelines based on severity but address it once deemed necessary [5].
Colon Resection
   surgery removed the Impacted stool


A Bowel Obstruction is no joke, and it’s one of the worst gut conditions that can happen to anyone. With its symptoms ranging from chronic discomfort to acute abdominal pain, there are a variety of reasons why one may develop this condition. From scar tissue or hernias to cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms go see your doctor immediately.

Though keep in mind waiting till conditions worsen might land you in a more precarious situation like dehydration or even colorectal cancer an end unit phase prognosis for blockages caused by tumours.Bowel obstruction surgeries might seem daunting but have been known for their success over time alongside alternative non-invasive approaches.

So be alert, know the early warning signs and stay healthy as always!

Wishing You Good Gut Health Ahead!

1. NHS UK (2019)
2.Healthline (2021)
3.Mayo Clinic (2020)
4. PubMed Central
5.Cleveland Clinic (2020)

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