Intestinal Obstruction

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Intestinal obstruction refers to anything that blocks the movement of intestinal contents on their way towards the anus. This obstruction can cause a lot of pain as the area proximal to the obstruction accumulates fluid and gasses that put pressure on the intestinal walls, causing distention. The gasses that begin to accumulate are mainly composed of swallowed air or nitrogen (because it is poorly absorbed in the intestinal lumen). Increased pressure on the intestinal wall will interrupt blood flow and possibly lead to gangrenous changes that increase the risk for bowel wall perforation. A perforated bowl is a life-threatening condition because the peritoneal cavity is exposed to the bacteria of the gut and a serious infection can develop.

Types of Intestinal Obstruction Image by Becky T F19

There are several common causes for intestinal obstruction:

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