Intestinal obstruction

Paralytic ileus; Intestinal volvulus; Bowel obstruction; Ileus; Pseudo-obstruction - intestinal; Colonic ileus

Intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the bowel. The contents of the intestine cannot pass through it.

Digestive system

The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach

This abdominal X-ray shows a stomach filled with fluid and a swollen (distended) small bowel, caused by a blockage (psudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium) that is visible on X-rays was swallowed by the patient (upper GI series).

Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension

This abdominal X-ray shows thickening of the bowel wall and swelling (distention) caused by a blockage (psudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium), which is visible on X-ray, was swallowed by the patient (the procedure is known as an upper GI series).

Intussusception - X-ray

This abdominal X-ray shows an intestinal condition in which a loop of bowel has slipped into another section of bowel (intussusception), causing swelling, reduced blood flow, obstruction, and tissue damage. Intussusception requires emergency treatment (barium enema or surgery) to prevent intestinal tissue death (necrosis), intestinal perforation, peritonitis, and death.

Volvulus - X-ray

A GI series in a patient with a twisted bowel (volvulus).

Small bowel obstruction - X-ray

X-rays of the abdomen are important in diagnosing the presence of small bowel obstruction. When obstruction occurs, both fluid and gas collect in the intestine. They produce a characteristic pattern called air-fluid levels. The air rises above the fluid and there is a flat surface at the air-fluid interface.

Small intestine anatomy

The small intestine absorbs much of the liquid from foods. There are three parts of the small intestine, the duodenum, the ileum and the jejunum.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention