Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Blocked Small Intestine Treatment

Initial treatment for intestinal obstruction is a nasogastric (NG) tube, which is inserted into the nostril, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach. The tube is attached to a pump, which removes air and digested food. This relieves pressure that has built up behind the obstructed portion of the intestine. Most of the time, the obstruction resolves.

Additional treatment for an intestinal obstruction may include intravenous fluids and pain medications. In some cases, colonoscopy or surgery may be required, in order to relieve the intestinal obstruction.

Treatment options for intestinal obstruction include:

  • Nothing to eat or drink
  • Intravenous fluid
  • Narcotic pain medication:
    • For moderate to severe pain
    • For short term use only
  • Colonoscopy for intestinal obstruction
    • Used to decompress the colon and relieve the obstruction
  • Abdominal surgery for intestinal obstruction:

Blocked Small Intestine Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after treatment for an intestinal obstruction.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for complications?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Blocked Small Intestine Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat intestinal obstruction:

Continue to Blocked Small Intestine Prevention

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Blocked Small Intestine References
  1. De Giorgio R, Sarnelli G, Corinaldesi R, Stanghellini V. Advances in our understanding of the pathology of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Gut. 2004 Nov;53(11):1549-52. [15479666]
  2. Franklin ME Jr, Gonzalez JJ Jr, Miter DB, Glass JL, Paulson D. Laparoscopic diagnosis and treatment of intestinal obstruction. Surg Endosc. 2004 Jan;18(1):26-30. [14625729]
  3. Hajivassiliou CA. Intestinal obstruction in neonatal/pediatric surgery. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2003 Nov;12(4):241-53. [14655163]
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