How Do You Treat an Intestinal Blockage?


Quick Answer

Treatment for an intestinal blockage varies based on whether the obstruction is partial or complete, reports Mayo Clinic. However, treatment usually requires hospitalization. A partial obstruction may resolve itself with the addition of a low-fiber diet, but a complete obstruction may require surgery or other forms of intervention.

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If an intestinal blockage does not resolve itself on its own and requires hospitalization, health care professionals usually begin by ensuring the patient's condition is stabilized, according to Mayo Clinic. An IV line is inserted to supply fluids, a nasogastric tube is inserted through the nose into the stomach to remove air and fluids, and a catheter is inserted to collect urine.

A partial intestinal obstruction still allows fluid and food to pass through, states Mayo Clinic. A low-fiber diet helps relieve the stress placed on the body. If the obstruction does not pass through the intestines, surgery is recommended. In severe cases, surgery may remove not only the obstruction but any part of the intestine that has died. A nonsurgical option is to insert a wire mesh tube through the mouth or colon using an endoscope, forcing the colon open manually. Symptoms of an intestinal obstruction include intermittent abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and swelling in the abdomen.

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