What Is a Partial Bowel Obstruction?


Quick Answer

A partial bowel obstruction occurs when a portion of the bowel becomes blocked and hinders the passing of gas, foods and liquids through the intestines, according to WebMD. Bowel obstructions are referred to as partial or complete and can be caused by several factors including scar tissue and cancer.

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Full Answer

Partial bowel obstructions can also be caused by impacted stool, bacterial infections, appendicitis and hernias, explains MedlinePlus. Symptoms of a bowel obstruction include bloating, vomiting, constipation, foul breath and an inability to expel intestinal gas. Treatment for the condition depends on the underlying cause of the blockage. In many cases, a tube is inserted into the nose and down into the stomach. The tube helps to minimize bloating and vomiting. When tube treatments prove ineffective, surgery to release the blockages may be required.

Individuals with bowel obstructions are required to remain in the hospital for the duration of their treatment, according to Drugs.com. Once the tube is removed after a tube treatment, patients must follow liquid diets for 24 hours, followed by slow introduction of solid foods into the system. The overall prognosis for partial bowel obstructions depends on the age and health history of the patient. With treatment, the prognosis for non-cancerous blockages in healthy individuals is fairly high.

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