Obstruction – blockage in the intestine – is a severe complication of IBD and a potential emergency. Obstruction may require urgent surgery.
Obstruction usually can affect the colon (large intestine) or the small intestine, particularly if there are pre-existing strictures or adhesions. Symptoms can include bloating, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Obstruction can be diagnosed using imaging techniques including regular X-rays, CT, or MRI
Patients with acute intestinal obstruction should be hospitalized. Some cases of obstruction get better on their own, and thus doctors tend to take the wait and see approach rather than rushing into surgery. However, if obstructions get worse or do not resolve, emergency surgery is required.
If the situation is not an emergency, your doctor might first try giving you intravenous rehydration and correcting any electrolyte abnormalities. They may discontinue certain medications and treat other diseases if they are contributing to the obstruction.
Surgery for an obstruction can vary from releasing an adhesion, widening narrowed sections (strictureplasty), or removing a diseased section of intestine.