How do doctors treat a blockage?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 4/13/2010 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm probably overly conscious of chewing my food because I don't want to risk a blockage...but I'm just wondering--if you had a blockage, and had to go to the hospital, what would they do to treat it?
Just curious...
Stephanie, 28 years old
Diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis March 2000
Possible diagnosis of IBS-D
Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy 3/18/10!
Tried: Asacol, Remicade, 6mp, Humira, Xifaxan, Apriso, Imuran, Rowasa Enemas, Colocort Enemas, Psyllium Seed Powder... Tried Probiotics: Align (with no change except bloating) and VSL #3 DS (AWFUL diarrhea).
Currently on:10 mg Prednisone, Prenatal Vitamin, Vitamin B 12 Complex, Vitamin D, Calcium, Flomax (for urinary retention). 

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 421
   Posted 4/14/2010 10:38 AM (GMT -7)   
And to hijack Stephanie's post....what exactly does a blockage feel like? What happen's to your stoma and the pouch? Is there output?

RX Crohn's 1999, over 30 surgeries, 3 strokes, permanent colostomy and rectum removal.
"The most unfortunate thing that happens to a person who fears failure is that he limits himself by becoming afraid to try anything new."

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5697
   Posted 4/14/2010 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
There are two types of blockages and both are handled differently. A partial blockage is where you are still passing gas or small amounts of waste, but aren't emptying completely. You may have cramping and abdominal discomfort. These can be managed at home by drinking grape juice or warm beverages and eliminating all food until it passes. Also it helps to stay mobile, walking around the house, climbing stairs, etc. will help move things along. A complete blockage is a total absence of passing anything, waste or gas accompanied by vomiting. For a complete blockage, stop eating and drinking and go to the ER.

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 827
   Posted 4/14/2010 12:25 PM (GMT -7)   
My son has had both partial and complete obstructions. All have taken him to the hospital with vomiting and pain. With a complete blockage you will normally have no output but with a partial you can have either very little output or VERY large amounts of watery output....this is the intestine trying to "wash" out the problem.

My son has WANTED to go to the hospital each time since you get IV anti nausea and pain medication.

In answer to what the docs will do....depends on severity of symptoms. We were told that almost all obstructions will resolve on their own with a bit of time but VERY INFREQUENTLY surgery can be needed.

They will give you an IV to keep you hydrated (especially if you have a lot of output). They will give you anti nausea and pain medication as needed. IF symptoms are bad you will have an xray which shows obstructions quite well and depending on what that shows they may give you a CT scan. The problem with severe blockages is that the bile and stomach juices that are being made cannot go down through the intestine and need to go somewhere....that is the cause of the nausea and vomiting. If this gets bad it is strongly suggested that you get a NG tube inserted into your stomach to suction off the liquid. This sounds like it would be terrible but my son has had it done 4 times and he says that it is no where near a bad as you expect and the relief is almost instantaneous. So...what they are doing is keeping you comfortable until the obstruction passes. We keep hearing of people that ride these out at home but we could not have done that and actual would not have wanted to. It is very comforting to have professionals looking after you and keeping you comfortable.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2004
Total Posts : 100
   Posted 4/14/2010 1:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I was told by my nurse if I block up with my stoma severe pain will bring me to the er and they will do an enima to unblock it ..... grossss
Take Care and God Bless, Daffy

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/14/2010 4:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had two partial blockages in the past two - three weeks.  I think it is the food I have been eating...I have been eating more vegetables and I have decided this is not a good thing to do.  What happened to me was I noticed my output stopped all but runny mucous secretion and I was having extreme pain in my lower abdominal area as well as my stoma.  My stoma was swollen and it felt like a knife was going inside of it.  I got on the internet and started reading how to get rid of a partial blockage at home and it advised massaging the stomach as well as taking a hot shower and letting the water hit your back.  I also drank hot tea prior to taking a shower.  This is kind of gross, but while I was taking the shower, I was also massaging my abdomen, then all of the sudden the blockage just popped out.  I could feel the relief the minute it popped out.  I don't ever want another one of those again though, it is extremely painful.  I was about to go to the hospital if the shower and massage didn't work. 
1994 - exploratory laparoscopy
1998 - emergency laparotomy ovarian cyst
1999 - emergency laparotomy removal of left ovary and endometriosis
2000 - total hysterectomy - laparotomy
2001 - laparotomy removal of mass which was adhesions
2001 - laparotomy due to complications of previous surgery
2003 - laparoscopy removal of adhesions
2006 - laparoscopy removal of adhesions
2009 - 12/17/09  laparospic subtotal colectomy with anastamosis and removal of adhesions
2009 - 12/26/09 - open laparotomy due to leak from subtotal colectomy - ileostomy placed
2009 - 3/2009 [ REVERSAL SCHEDULED]

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 827
   Posted 4/14/2010 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   

When my son had his loop ileostomy he had a lot of problems with blockages right behind the stoma. The doctors taught him how to stick a catheter in through the stoma to open it up. It sounds gross but really was not a big deal at all....just like sticking a tube into your mouth. worked very well. His intestine keep kinking right where it went through the abdominal wall. I understand that this is fairly common for a loop ileostomy since there can be a lot of tension on the stoma site. Of course I am not saying for anyone to do this nono need to be shown by a doctor and they need to know that the obstruction is right there close to the stoma site

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 788
   Posted 4/14/2010 7:48 PM (GMT -7)   
An obstructions hurts. It comes in waves of pain. You can feel the peristalsis of your intestine from the area of obstruction, to the stoma.
I think mine have only been partial. Usually, I'll have a very small amt. of output and the stoma will be swollen. This last time, I had No output for a few hours-then i started having a little bit of liquid and I actually began squeezing my intestine right around the area of the stoma-like squeezing a tube of toothpaste; the pain was the worst it had been, during that episode; the stoma was retracted. So, it may have been complete and worked it's way out.
28 yrs. old. married with one beautiful daughter (born 11/20/07)
-diagnosed with severe pancolitis u/c 2002 had total colectomy 12/19/08; emergency surgery due to abscess-had to redo ileostomy and switch to left side 12/25/08; 2/15/09 found blood clot in superior mesenteric vein (prob. from inf. and surgery inflammation)
i only take vitamins now, when I WANT to. :)
(temporary ileostomy....maybe)

"Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out."

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 4/14/2010 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I had what i think was one, and it hurt, and i felt just sick on my stomach, which at first i thought was because i hadnt eaten much, but as i was eating, i started feeling sicker and sicker. So i quit eating, i was already drinking so i kept doing that, lol. But anyway i just kept feeling worse and i wasnt having much output at all. But i didnt think of it being a blockage at that time, but once i got in the hottub, i felt really sick and went to the bathroom and threw up, and it was whole food, and usually if i throw up its just liquid cause my food goes out so fast, and it had been like 6 hours since i last ate. Anyway, right after that, my bag just filled up like crazy, like 3 times in a row. And after that i felt fine.
I had eaten mozarella cheese sticks.
Then one other time i ate those, and i felt kind of sick for a while, didnt have much output and i laid on my left side for a while and started feeling better.
UC for 8 years, before finally kicking its butt and having a permanent ileostomy April 17 2007! 
-I have gone to find myself, if i get back before i return, keep me here-

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 4147
   Posted 4/14/2010 8:24 PM (GMT -7)   

With all those adhesion surgeries, have they ever tried Seprafilm adhesion barrier? I almost lost my life to adhesions and wound up with adhesion lysis, Seprafilm, and permanent ileostomy. SO FAR, so good (wrap on wood), the Seprafilm seems to have worked.

To address the question of this thread,

I had to give up mashed potato and heavy veggies. I had 2 stomal blockages both on ships out in the ocean. One was from a banana and one from Mashed potato. I had to run laps around the deck and drink about a gallon of hot tea and grape juice. All of a sudden they passed. Thank God. A blockage at sea would not have been fun. I eat real bland now and drink a ton. I rarely do fruits or veggies. I do yogurt, scrambled egg, white bread (but limited amounts) lots of ice cream, and a ton of vitamins. So far I'm holding my own nutritionally. If a food blockage is severe an ER does a lavage (like a tiny enema into the ileo stoma, but you have to be sure they do not infuse it like a colostomy or your small intestine could rupture. You have to get an ER doc or surgeon who knows what they are doing. This would be the tricky part. Hope you never have a blockage.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 4/17/2010 2:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Surgery adhesions caused my small intestine to block and perforate one year ago, and I almost died. The pain was the worst I had ever felt. It was a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. I had no output and was vomiting, so my hubby took me directly to the ER. They gave me pain medicine by IV, took X-Rays, and could see right away that my small intestine had perforated.

I had emergency surgery in the middle of the night, and thankfully survived. The surgeon who was on call was amazing! He put Seprafilm in before closing me up, and I haven't had one blockage since.

I have to say, if I ever do have a blockage with pain and vomiting in the future, I'm going straight to the ER. I found out first-hand that it's much too dangerous to wait something like that out at home.

Here's to all of us having a blockage-free year!

smilewinkgrin Cecilia
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at age 28. Proctocolectomy and permanent ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free and medicine-free since surgery and very thankful to be healthy again.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1595
   Posted 4/19/2010 6:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Why do blockages occur? It has to be more than just what you eat. I had one minor blockage about 3 months after my ileostomy surgery. We had some leftover cabbage from making stuffed cabbage. I warmed it in a steamer, loaded it with butter and gorged myself. I even ate the STRINGY stalk........bad idea. It worked itself out. I have no trouble with anything else that I eat. I am careful of stringy beans, snow peas, chinese vegetables, etc. It's just the string stuff. Am I just lucky? And no popcorn.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 4/19/2010 8:23 PM (GMT -7)   
its sometimes the food, its sometimes scar tissue, its sometimes a kink.
UC for 8 years, before finally kicking its butt and having a permanent ileostomy April 17 2007! 
-I have gone to find myself, if i get back before i return, keep me here-

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 421
   Posted 4/20/2010 9:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know what I had the other night. All day, a little bit of poop, nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't eat anything different or strange. Then at about 11:00pm just as im getting into bed, LOTS of pain in the lower back and abdomen. Oscar felt fine, he kept pulling inwards though. I took 2 Aleve's and 2 gas-x and fell asleep. Woke up at about 3am, felt fine and my pouch was FULL of liquid. Oscar never gives me pure liquid.
RX Crohn's 1999, over 30 surgeries, 3 strokes, permanent colostomy and rectum removal.
"The most unfortunate thing that happens to a person who fears failure is that he limits himself by becoming afraid to try anything new."

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/14/2014 12:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I had a loop end ileostomy 2nd Jan last year. 2 days ago I woke with unbelievable cramping pain,with vomiting. I had eaten nearly a tub of peanuts. Mine was a complete blockage so no output whatsoever. I went to the A&E and spent all day there and they let me go home. Next morning I was back in hospital and this time I was given Iv painkillers and a drip as I could not hold any fluids down. 17.15 I had a strange wave of pain and my bag filled up immediately. This same process happened 5 or 6 times. I am now back home but I have a peristomal hernia which the surgeon said she would notify my consultant of and the upper part of the stoma is retracted. Due to the severity and length of time to get it sorted I have terrible abdo pain. I have been told to start as I did after my op and I am only on water at present, should be ok to have a cup of tea in 2 days and then I can move on to soup. No nuts for me ever again nono

Alive and Well
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 1/17/2014 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   
The two complete blockages that I've had have been from eating an orange too quickly. The problem is that you (at least me) don't typically know there's a blockage until the meal after the one that caused the problem. By that time, your intestine is full and that's where the pain starts. I ended up in ER both times and on IV and morphine to knock me out until they passed. I overchew everything now and don't have any issues...
52 Year Old Male Diagnosed with UC at 25
Total Colectomy May 2011 - Renewed Love of Life
Presently. Pouch construction and connection May 1st, 2013

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/6/2016 5:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there

I'm new to posting regarding my ileostomy so not sure anyone will respond to such an old thread but am hopeful. I've had a loop ileostomy since 2002 with a view of further surgery to create an end ileostomy. My problem was a recal prolapse in my early 20's and had laparotomy.. Mesh was used back then which wasn't known likely to cause infection. To cut a very long story short I ended up with an ileostomy because of chronic pelvic sepsis. There was talk of removing the mesh and lower bowel once the ileostomy surgery settled. However due to scar tissue and adhesions and as the infection had miraculously healed I was advised to avoid any further surgery because the anatomy of my abdomen wasn't known and I could end up worse or could possibly be fatal. I pretty much suffer daily prolapses whereby my Stoma (without a support belt and support briefs) will protrude approx 4". This has lead to a strangulated Stoma and emergency surgery. I manage the prolapse and know my limits. I've had a number of blockages which have required hospital admittance but I've not had one in 3 years when I woke Tuesday with abdominal cramps etc and no output. Because of my circumstances it was not an option to go to hospital so I've had to try an manage the blockage at home. I then had an abundance of very water output followed by nothing and again an abundance of very watery output all whilst having a hugely distended stomach with abdominal pain but no gas. Based on my previous blockages which were total blockages I didn't realise that watery output meant a partial blockage so thought I was on the road to recovery but I was still getting stomach cramps so googled and came across this posting. I am getting somewhat paranoid that this could still end badly if I don't go to A&E but my circumstances are making it very difficult. I wonder if anyone can please offer some advice and reassurance please? Also I see from other postings that blockages are more common in loop end.. Is that right?
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