getting partial obstructions from abdominal adhesions but can't have x-rays

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 193
   Posted 7/4/2010 4:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I can't have the barium swallow or a colonoscopy because it is too dangerous. My GI said I have extensive adhesive activity and probing can perforate the intestinal wall. Barium may become too thick. I'm wondering what will happen when I have a total obstruction. The surgeon will not have an x-ray to pinpoint it before he opens me up again.
Anyone else in this situation? Are you told to convert to a liquid diet? Even at that, liquid won't pass thru a total obstruction.
FYI: My obstructions have always been at the site of the anastomosis at the terminal ileum.
       My colon is shaped like an "M" because an adhesion is attached to the intestines just below the middle of my abdomen.
Age 58, Crohn's since age 21
3 bowel resections, 1980,88,95
1 fistula repair, 2005
digestive enzymes

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1768
   Posted 7/4/2010 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Is there any reason you can't have an MRI? They are being used more now for Crohn's than they used to. Maybe this is a possibility for you. Some facilities only have you drink water before the scan.

Otherwise, though it might not show a lot, you could still have a CT done.

32 yr old female-dx with Crohn's in '97 after emergency resection and appendectomy, 2nd resection '05, Bilateral pulmonary emboli 10/09
Currently on Humira, Omeprazole, Effexor, Seroquel, Calcium, Vit D
Coumadin stopped 3/15/10!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 193
   Posted 7/4/2010 5:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Becky. My last resection was in 1995. CT's and MRI's weren't used for crohn's here at that time. In 1988 I obstructed 4 times in less than a year and they kept sending me home because my condition wasn't "life threatening." By the time the surgeon agreed to the resection I was weak and extremely malnourished. And that happened after several barium swallow x-rays and the location of the obstruction was clear. I dread going thru that again.
My Gastro. said "I guess I won't see you until you show up in the ER because those adhesions will cause problems eventually."
When it happens, I will ask about a CT. Thank you! 
Age 58, Crohn's since age 21
3 bowel resections, 1980,88,95
1 fistula repair, 2005
digestive enzymes

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 7/4/2010 9:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah I have had 6 obstructions in the past year and I get " oh maybe we shouldn start to think about a second resection". Really? Yeah thanks. Because what we have been doing is working SO well right?

Anyway...I hear ya.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/5/2010 9:00 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't understand why you can't do a CT with contrast. The barium you drink with a CT is not the same as that thick crap you drink for a SBFT. It is much more liquidy, thats how they test me for obstructions everytime. I think you should ask for a CT, that way the surgeons can see what their up against. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease 
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
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Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 7/5/2010 12:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree w/Nanners. And as extra insurance if you like drink LOTS of water the day of and after the CT scan to flush the watery barium thru plus maybe even do a little MOM (Milk of Magnesia) just to soften things up and keep them soft.
My computer says I need to upgrade my brain to be compatible with its new software.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 193
   Posted 7/5/2010 8:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Nanners and everyone! CT's with contrast weren't being done last time I had this problem. My obstruction is either at the site of the anastomosis or in my transverse colon, or both. My colon is shaped like an "M" due to the adhesions and it is murder each time food passes thru the top of the "M." My gastro just said "give me a call from the ER when you have a crisis event" but I'd prefer to prepare myself in advance. I am so glad to hear that technology is being used to eliminate some of the agony. Thanks again, everyone.
Age 58, Crohn's since age 21
3 bowel resections, 1980,88,95
1 fistula repair, 2005
digestive enzymes

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 506
   Posted 7/5/2010 10:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I know there is some contrast that wasn't that thick barium junk. I don't remember what it was but they put it in apple juice and did the CT scan. It doesn't give as much detail as the regular sludge, but it would probably be all right to use in a case such as yours.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, Imuran, probiotics, folic acid, multivitamin.
Resection December 2009

Amor fati - Nietzsche

been there too often
New Member

Date Joined Apr 2015
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/5/2015 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
You were asking about symptoms of a total obstruction. I can tell you from personal experience and seeing a couple cases as a nurse. It generally shows up with projectile vomiting or as I call it "vomiting for distance". I assume you know if you EVER vomit and it looks like coffee grounds go immediately to the hospital 98% of the time that is a sign of a GI bleed. May I ask, are your doctors just waiting for an obstruction before they want to do anything about adhesions ? I have had multiple surgeries over the years for abdominal and pelvic adhesions and I DO NOT want to wait until it is an emergency because most of the time that means you get cut open-causing additional adhesions and often a bowel gets "nicked" and you end up with an infection. Not many surgeons will admit what the infection is but all you have to do is ask for the lab culture result and when it comes up ecoli you know it has come from inside your bowels. Sorry too much information. Just been there and seen that....Again sorry really wanted to help and ask what you are able to do medically in your situation.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2015
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 4/8/2015 11:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Vomiting is a classic sign of total obstruction. Coupled with intense pain, sometimes a felt lump, extreme distention. Nothing coming out the other end is another symptom.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 2079
   Posted 4/8/2015 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Also you won't be able to pass gas.
55 yr. old--CD over 43 yr. Hemi-colectomy '01; spinal cord injury '01; fistulae since '97; enteropathic arthritis, chronic pain, muscle spasms, scoliosis, rotator cuff injuries

Sometimes I have a wicked sense of humor, other times I have no humor at all, but most of the time I just have no sense.
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