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Small Bowel Obstruction

The small intestine is connected at one end to the stomach and the other to the large intestine. It is 20 to 30 feet long and has many folds, helping it fit into the abdomen. When a blockage occurs in the small intestine, it’s called a small bowel obstruction. This can mean a partial or complete blockage that prevents food from passing through. These are most often caused by adhesions, bands of scar formed after surgery. Other causes are hernias, malignant tumors, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel disorders, along with various other condtions.

Common Symptoms of the Disease

Symptoms of a small bowel obstruction can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe constipation
  • Not able to pass any stool or gas if completely obstructed
  • General malaise

Treatment Options

If a small bowel obstruction occurs, the patient is hospitalized immediately to stabilize their condition. IV fluids are given and the patient is not allowed to eat for a prescribed period of time. Some patients receive bowel decompression through a tube that is inserted into the nose and goes to the stomach to suck out fluid and relieve swelling. Patients may be prescribed anti-nausea medication, as well. If the small intestine is completely blocked, surgery may be required.

Previous Page Last Review Date: April 20, 2020
Small Bowel Obstruction Team
Adrian Legaspi, MD, FACS

Adrian Legaspi, MD, FACS

Oncology Surgery
Hialeah 33016
Amit Vinay Sastry, MD

Amit Vinay Sastry, MD

Oncology Surgery
Hialeah 33016
Vanitha Vasudevan, MD, FACS

Vanitha Vasudevan, MD, FACS

General Surgery, Oncology Surgery
Hialeah 33016