A bowel obstruction occurs when the large or small intestine is fully or partially blocked in a way that prevents food, fluid, or gas from passing normally though the intestines, says WebMD. Mechanical obstructions, including tumors and scar tissue, are the most common cases of bowel obstruction.
Bowel obstruction can be identified through symptoms including cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, according to the Mayo Clinic. Once symptoms are present, obstructions can be diagnosed through abdominal x-rays and CT scans. In many cases, bowel obstructions are simple issues that will get better without treatment but in severe cases, surgery may be required.