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How is Bowel Obstruction Treated or Cleared?

What is a Bowel Obstruction?

Bowel obstruction is a blockage in the intestine, which prevents the contents of the intestine to pass normally through the digestive tract. The blockage in the intestine can be caused by adhesions, twisting, tumors, lodged food and hernia.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bowel Obstruction?

The symptoms presented by a patient suffering from bowel obstruction are: abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, a bloated abdomen, rapid pulse and breathing, constipation, diarrhea and lack of bowel movement.

A bowel obstruction requires immediate medical attention. With proper diagnosis and care, the patient suffering from bowel obstruction starts feeling better within a few weeks.

Diagnosis of Bowel Obstruction

This is the first step involved in clearing the obstructed intestine. With the help of the doctor, the cause of the bowel obstruction is diagnosed so that it can be cleared as soon as possible.

The doctor notes down the symptoms of the patient suffering from bowel obstruction and performs a physical examination. The abdomen is examined for any sign of tenderness. Colonoscopy is performed if the blockage is suspected in the large intestine. A blood test is performed to get information about any other infection. Barium X-ray or a CT scan helps locate the site of obstruction in the bowels.

How is Bowel Obstruction Treated or Cleared?

How is Bowel Obstruction Treated or Cleared?

The treatment of bowel obstruction relies basically on the cause, but the patient mostly requires hospitalization. To clear the bowel obstruction, hospitalization is done to stabilize the patient’s condition so that the treatment can be performed. Patient with bowel obstruction is given intravenous fluids. A naso-gastric tube is inserted to suck out the air and fluid to relieve abdominal swelling due to bowel obstruction. A thin catheter is inserted to collect the patient’s urine for testing

Barium or air enema is used to clear the intussusceptions and bowel obstruction. Usually, no further treatment is required, if the enema works in clearing the bowel obstruction.

Patients with partial bowel obstruction do not require further treatment after being stabilized. The patient is recommended a low-fiber diet, which is easier to process. But if the bowel obstruction does not clear on its own, then surgery is required to clear the bowel obstruction.

In cases where the intestine is completely obstructed then also surgery is mandatory. The procedure of the surgery for clearing the bowel obstruction depends on the cause of the obstruction and the part of intestine affected. Surgery removes the obstruction as well the section of the intestine that is damaged.

Stenting is done to provide temporary relief to the patient in whom the emergency surgery for bowel obstruction is risky. Self-expanding metal stents are inserted into the colon to force open the intestine to clear the obstruction. But once the condition is stabilized, surgery for clearing the bowel obstruction can be performed.

Conservative Treatment for Bowel Obstruction

If the doctor cannot be reached immediately, the following tips can prove to be helpful in providing relief from bowel obstruction:

  • Move around as it brings about the movement in the intestines as well and helps in clearing the bowel obstruction.
  • A warm bath or a heating bath helps the muscles relax and let the intestines do their job with ease.
  • Drink a lot of water and fluids. It helps to push the blockage if it is due to the lodged food and clear the obstruction. The most effective fluids are grape juice, carbonated beverages, and hot tea.
  • Change position, as this can also help in clearing the bowel obstruction.
  • Massage the area around the abdomen. It encourages the food to come out of the stomach.

How to Avoid Bowel Obstruction?

  • Avoid hard to digest food, such as nuts, seeds, mushroom, uncooked veggies and corn.
  • Chew well, as completely chewed food help in digestion of food and prevents bowel obstruction.
  • To prevent bowel obstruction, stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids after meals.

Natural Remedies To Clear A Bowel Obstruction

Water. The best thing that can be done for colon cleansing is drinking plenty of water. About 10-12 glasses of water every day helps flush out toxins and waste from the body naturally. It also helps in the natural peristaltic action, which helps the food move through the digestive system. Along with water fresh fruits and vegetable juices can be consumed to clear the bowel obstruction.

Apple Juice. Apple juice helps in bowel movements, breakdown toxins and boosts the liver and digestive system health and hence helps clear bowel obstruction.

Lemon Juice. Antioxidant properties and the rich vitamin C content in lemons make them really good for the digestive system. Lemon juice is great for colon cleansing and clearing bowel obstruction.

Mix the juice of one lemon with a pinch of salt, honey and a glass of lukewarm water. Drink it every morning for more energy, better bowel movement and good skin condition.

Raw Vegetable Juice. Processed and cooked food should be kept away if suffering from the obstructed colon. Instead, drinking fresh vegetable juice is recommended. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which helps force the toxins out of the body.

Fiber-Rich Food. Fiber helps keep stool soft and help in bowel movement. Foods rich in fiber helps get rid of any kind of intestinal problems including bowel obstruction. Raspberries, artichokes, peas, nuts, beans, and seeds are some good source of fiber-rich food.

Yogurt. Yogurt is a probiotic food and brings good bacteria and helps in digestion. Yogurt also helps fight inflammatory bowel disease and also prevents bowel obstruction.


  1. Mayo Clinic. “Bowel Obstruction.” Link
  2. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. “Bowel Obstruction.” Link

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2023

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