Intestinal or bowel obstruction - discharge
Repair of volvulus - discharge; Reduction of intussusception - discharge; Release of adhesions - discharge; Hernia repair - discharge; Tumor resection - discharge
When You Were in the Hospital
You were in the hospital for treatment of an obstruction (blockage) in your bowel (intestine). While in the hospital, you received intravenous fluids. You also may have had a tube placed through your nose and into your stomach. You may have received antibiotics.
If you did not have surgery, your doctor and nurses slowly began to give you liquids, and then food.
If you needed surgery, you may have had part of your large or small intestine removed. Your surgeon may have been able to sew the healthy ends of your intestines back together. You may also have had ileostomy or a colostomy placed.
If a tumor or cancer caused the blockage in your intestine, the surgeon may have removed it. Or, it may have been bypassed by routing your intestine around it.
What to Expect at Home
If you had surgery, the outcome is usually good if the obstruction is treated before tissue damage or death occurs in the bowel. Some people may have more bowel obstruction in the future.
If you did not have surgery, your symptoms may be completely gone. But you may still have some discomfort, and your stomach may still feel bloated. There is a chance your intestine may become blocked again.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s or nurse's advice about diet.
Eat small amounts of food 5 to 8 times a day, instead of 3 bigger meals.
- Space out your small meals. Wait the same amount of time between each one.
- Add new foods back in slowly, one or two at a time.
- Takes sips of clear liquids throughout the day.
Some foods may cause gas, loose stools, or constipation when you are recovering. Avoid the foods that cause these problems.
If you become sick to your stomach or have diarrhea, try drinking only clear fluids for a while and hold off on solid foods.
Do not lift anything or continue intense exercise for at least 4 - 6 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay.
If you have had an ileostomy or a colostomy, a nurse will tell you how to care for it.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Diarrhea that does not go away
- Pain that does not go away or is getting worse
- A swollen or tender belly
- Little or no gas or stools to pass
- Fever or chills
- Blood in your stool
Turnage RH, Heldmann M, Cole P. Intestinal obstruction and illeus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 116.
Shabir Bhimji MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Inc.
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