Adhesions from surgery, colon cancer, impacted feces and twisting of the colon can all cause bowel obstruction, according to Mayo Clinic. Other possible causes are hernias, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis.
A bowel obstruction can occur in the small intestine or the colon, explains Mayo Clinic. Paralytic ileus is a condition that mimics a bowel obstruction but is not caused by a physical blockage of any kind. Paralytic ileus occurs when the muscles and nerves in the bowels are disrupted, preventing them from contracting in the normal way. This can occur as a result of abdominal surgery, pelvic surgery, infections and certain medications.