Crohn's disease, scar tissue from a past surgery, colon cancer, gallstones and paralytic ileus are causes of bowel obstruction. Severe constipation and a strangulated hernia are other causes, states Healthline. Bowel obstruction, also known as intestinal obstruction, occurs when there is a partial or complete blockage of the small or large intestine.
Crohn's disease causes narrowing of the intestines, tumors caused by colon cancer block the intestines, and gallstones apply pressure on the intestine, thereby blocking its normal flow and causing bowel obstruction, according to Healthline. Paralytic ileus occurs following abdominal surgery and temporarily causes the intestines to stop contracting. A protrusion of the small intestines through the abdominal wall is known as a strangulated hernia.
A swollen or bloated stomach, vomiting, nausea, constipation and blood in the stool are some symptoms of bowel obstruction. Other symptoms include a change in bowel consistency and thin stools, says EverydayHealth. Doctors diagnose bowel obstruction by reviewing the patient's symptoms and medical history and conducting a physical examination. Other diagnostic methods include imaging tests, such as an X-ray, or computed tomography scan and a colonoscopy. Treatment depends on the cause but typically involves surgery for mechanical obstructions caused by scarring or tumors, and obstructions due to abdominal adhesions may sometimes recur.