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Bowel Obstruction


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When your small or large intestine becomes partially or totally blocked, a bowel obstruction occurs. A bowel obstruction prevents food, gas and fluids from traveling through the intestines in a normal way, which disrupts your digestive process.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Stomach pain
  • Large, hard stomach
  • Constipation without gas (total blockage)
  • Diarrhea (partial blockage)


Physical Exam
We can accurately diagnose your bowel obstruction through a medical examination and review of your past health history, including discussing any previous abdominal conditions or surgeries.

Imaging Scans
A computerized tomography (CT) scan or X-ray of the abdomen allows your colorectal specialist to determine if your blockage is partial or total.


Placement of Nasogastric (NG) Tube
Your specialist may place a thin tube called an NG tube through your nose and into your stomach. The NG tube can help remove fluid and gas, which helps you feel less pain and discomfort. While the NG tube is in place, you won’t have anything to eat or drink.

Your specialist might recommend using an enema with air to try to open up the blocked intestine.

Your specialist may recommend placing a stent (small tube) to open up the narrowed intestine.

If your intestine is completely blocked or if the blockage is cutting off blood flow, your specialist will likely recommend surgery to remove the blockage.

Why Choose UHealth?

Improving the future of surgical care. We participate in the latest research and clinical trials, which help determine which surgeries work best for which patients. This research improves patient safety and quality of care while shaping the future of surgical treatment. Our surgeons have helped develop new procedures to treat a wide range of conditions, helping patients experience faster recoveries and fewer surgical risks.

Leaders in robotic surgery treatment. The University of Miami Health System is home to some of the world’s most experienced robotic surgeons. That’s why doctors from across the globe come to our facility to learn from our surgeons. We were the first academic medical center to use the da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system and complete more than 5,000 robotic surgeries — procedures that offer less pain and scarring and a faster recovery.

A comprehensive team of surgeons. We provide advanced surgical care for many health problems — from heart conditions to cancer. You’ll receive care from a surgeon who has specialized experience and expertise in your specific condition, ensuring you receive the right care for your needs.

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