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What treatments do doctors use for blocked bowels?

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Quick Answer

Treatments for bowel obstructions range from hospitalized observation to surgical interventions, notes Drugs.com. The type of treatment patients receive depends on the cause of the bowel obstruction as well as the severity of the blockage.

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Partial bowel obstructions sometimes resolve themselves, so doctors may treat patients by giving them IV fluids, eliminating fluid and food consumption, and observing the bowels for any changes, claims Drugs.com. The doctor also diagnoses and treats dehydration or electrolyte imbalances caused by blockage symptoms. Once the blockage passes, the patient will consume a liquid diet for at least a day and then eat only easily digestible foods for several days.

Complete bowel obstructions, or partial blockages that don't resolve quickly, require surgery to fix the underlying cause, according to Drugs.com. Adhesions are the most common cause for surgery and are the source of 50 to 70 percent of all small bowel obstructions in the United States. Other common causes of small intestine blockages include hernias or tumors. Colorectal cancer, volvulus and diverticular disease are the most common causes of large intestine blockages.

Common small intestine obstruction symptoms include cramps, a bloated abdomen, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, a rapid pulse and the inability to pass gas, states Drugs.com. Large intestine blockages can cause diarrhea, constipation or pain and bloating in the abdomen.

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