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Intestinal obstruction

Also known as Bowel Obstruction and Intestinal Occlusion

Bowel obstruction (or intestinal obstruction) is a mechanical or functional obstruction of the intestines, preventing the normal transit of the products of digestion. It can occur at any level distal to the duodenum of the small intestine and is a medical emergency. The condition is often treated conservatively over a period of 2–5 days with the patient's progress regularly monitored by an assigned physician. Surgical procedures are performed on occasion however, in life-threatening cases, such as when the root cause is a fully lodged foreign object or malignant tumor.

Source: Wikipedia

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with intestinal obstruction, 90% report having constipation, 80% report having sharp abdominal pain, and 52% report having diarrhea. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of intestinal obstruction are constipation, retention of urine, pain of the anus, stomach bloating, and incontinence of stool, although you may still have intestinal obstruction without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with intestinal obstruction often receive radiographic imaging procedure, hematologic tests, complete blood count, urinalysis, plain x-ray, intravenous fluid replacement, kidney function tests and electrolytes panel .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with intestinal obstruction include polyethylene glycol 3350 (miralax), sodium phosphate / sodium phosphate, monobasic, magnesium citrate, docusate (colace), glycerin (fleet), bisacodyl (the magic bullet), lactulose, calcium polycarbophil (fibercon), diatrizoate, alpha 1-antitrypsin, cefotetan, sodium phosphate and docusate / sennosides, usp .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for intestinal obstruction include age 75+ years.

Age

< 1 years
0.3x
1-4 years
0.6x
5-14 years
0.8x
15-29 years
0.6x
30-44 years
0.3x
45-59 years
0.9x
60-74 years
1.2x
75+ years
3.9x

Sex

Male
1.0x
Female
1.0x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
0.7x
Hispanic
0.6x
White
1.2x
Other
0.7x
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