A colon obstruction, also called an intestinal obstruction or blockage, occurs when the intestines are physically blocked or otherwise unable to allow matter to pass through. A physical or mechanical blockage means that something literally acts as a barrier to stop up the intestines. A nonmechanical cause for a colon obstruction is called an ileus. According to the National Institutes of Health, it can be caused by chemical imbalances in the body, medication use or underlying illness or infection. Immediate medical attention is required to relieve colon obstruction symptoms.
Things You'll Need
- IV fluids
Contact your doctor if are unable to pass gas, have a bowel movement or experience acute abdominal pain, and dietary changes do not help. These symptoms, along with nausea and vomiting, are consistent with a range of gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, but will not resolve themselves if an intestinal blockage is present.
Seek immediate attention at a hospital or other medical facility. Symptoms such as vomiting and possible dehydration can be relieved through the administration of intravenous fluids as you are being examined to determine the cause of your obstruction. If an infection is present, you may be given antibiotics as well.
Undergo a procedure called nasogastric suction to treat symptoms of a partial mechanical blockage. A tube is threaded through your nose and down to your digestive tract. The tube suctions air from your intestines, which can help relieve stomach pain associated with a colon blockage, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Take medications to treat paralytic ileus, one form of intestinal obstruction. According to the Mayo Clinic, paralytic ileus is the condition in which your muscles do not function well enough to propel food down your digestive tract. Medications that cause muscle contractions can treat some cases of paralytic ileus. Sometimes the only way to treat an ileus is to wait for it to pass on its own.
Undergo surgery to remove a physical blockage from your intestines. The source of the blockage may be a tumor, scar tissue or other structural damage. These mechanical blockages that do not allow any matter through the colon must be removed to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.