Bowel Obstruction Symptoms
A blockage in your small intestine or colon can result in many painful bowel obstruction symptoms. Intestinal obstruction prevents food and fluid from passing through, causing a number of problems. Bowel obstructions can result from many different conditions. These include hernias, tumors, scar tissue, and twisted intestines. Here are some of the common symptoms.
- Abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms of bowel obstruction. Abdominal cramps are not always continuous, however. They may come and go. The pain usually occurs around or below the belly button.
- Nausea and vomiting. Intestinal blockage can cause nausea and vomiting. Nausea is the stomach uneasiness that precedes vomiting, or the emptying of the stomach contents through the mouth. Both are common bowel obstruction symptoms.
- Constipation and lack of gas. Intestinal blockage usually results in constipation, or the inability to have a bowel movement. Sometimes, bowel obstruction can make it impossible to relieve the pain by passing gas.
- Diarrhea. While constipation is a common symptom of intestinal obstruction, sometimes diarrhea (loose, watery bowels) occurs. This happens if the intestine is partly blocked.
- Abdominal swelling. Abdominal swelling, or distention, is another common sign of bowel obstruction. The condition can also cause painful bloating.
When should you see a doctor? If you develop the symptoms above--and especially if your abdominal pain is severe and constant--seek immediate medical help. Serious complications can occur from intestinal blockage. You will have a medical emergency if your intestine’s blood supply has been cut off, or if your intestine has a hole.