Treatment for intestinal blockages varies depending on the type of blockage and severity: most cases require hospitalization, and common treatment includes intravenous (IV) fluids, nasogastric tubes and catheters. For severe cases and emergencies, doctors may perform surgery to remove obstructions. Less severe cases warrant stabilization, then prescription of dietary changes, such as following a low-fiber diet, which helps restore normal intestinal function and prevents future occurrences.
Patients need to check in to a hospital when experiencing prolonged abdominal or intestinal pain to complete an abdominal X-ray or CT scan. These scans help to determine the causes and possible treatment options, notes WebMD. Liquid or air enemas may be used to force the blockage through the intestine. Additional treatments for partial and complete intestinal blockage include surgery to implant a mesh stent to open the area around the blockage.
Intestinal obstruction comes in several types: partial obstruction, complete obstruction and paralytic ileus. The causes and treatment of these types of intestinal obstructions varies, although experts consider all serious medical concerns. Upon entering the hospital, patients receive stabilization. Stabilizing includes administering IV fluids through veins in the arm, inserting nasogastric tubes through the nose and into the stomach to alleviate swelling and insertion of a catheter, which connects to the bladder and removes urine for testing.
A partial obstruction may resolve with stabilization and following a low-fiber diet, which helps food and liquid pass through the digestive system easily, according to Mayo Clinic. Complete mechanical obstructions often require surgery to remove the obstruction and parts of damaged intestines. Surgeons may also insert stents to help facilitate digestion. Paralytic ileus, a temporary obstruction, often resolves on its own following stabilization. Lingering cases may warrant prescriptions of medication that triggers muscle contractions, helping pass food through the digestive tract.