Bowel Blockage

Bowel Blockage: Why They Occur ~ Symptoms ~ What to do?

A block­age occurs when stool or veg­etable mat­ter plugs up and causes a bowel obstruc­tion, usu­ally near the stoma.

About one in ten patients with ostomies will develop a bowel block­age at some point. In spite of the extreme pain and think­ing you are going to die, these often go away on their own, but you should cer­tainly check in with your doctor.

“This site was build by Osto­m­ates for Osto­m­ates and any infor­ma­tion
in these pages is not meant to take the place of pro­fes­sional med­ical advice.”

Block­ages — What to Do
  • Stop eat­ing solid food, increase clear liq­uid diet
  • A heat­ing pad placed on your abdomen might help ease the cramp­ing. A hot bath is often helpful
  • Stop tak­ing any anti-diarrhea medication
  • Check the stoma. If it is swelling, remove the pouch and make sure the wafer is large enough so that it doesn’t cut into the bowel. No skin should be showing.
  • If you don’t see any swelling, try to lie down and relax
  • Do not hes­i­tate to call your doctor
Block­ages — Why they Occur
  • Not chew­ing food sufficiently
  • Eat­ing too much fibrous food in com­bi­na­tion with bind­ing food (like peanut but­ter and cel­ery sticks)
  • Not drink­ing enough fluids
  • Scar tis­sue in the abdomen caus­ing a “kink” in the bowel
Block­ages — Symptoms
  • Severe Abdom­i­nal Pain
  • Nau­se­ated or have Abdom­i­nal Cramp
  • Decreased stoma out­put or an increased vol­ume of clear watery stool, or no out­put at all
  • Abdom­i­nal dis­ten­tion, abdom­i­nal pain and vomiting
  • The stoma may become notice­ably swollen
  • Dry mouth, decrease in urination

If the block block­age (Ileostomy or Colostomy) symp­toms per­sist for more than 8 hours, or you start vom­it­ing, you need to go to emer­gency right away. Tell your health care pro­fes­sional what your block­age symp­toms are and what reme­dies you have tried. You may need to be admit­ted to the hos­pi­tal for fast­ing and intra­venous flu­ids for sev­eral days before the block­age symp­toms go away. Osto­m­ates with block­ages may require surgery, but this is very rare.

“This site was build by Osto­m­ates for Osto­m­ates and any infor­ma­tion
in these pages is not meant to take the place of pro­fes­sional med­ical advice.”