Why do enemas cause cramps in the abdomen

What is an intestinal obstruction?

What symptoms does an intestinal obstruction cause?

The symptoms of intestinal obstruction differ depending on the cause and location in the bowel course. Typical are:

  • distended, distended belly
  • severe, cramping abdominal pain
  • neither faeces nor intestinal winds possible
  • Belching, nausea
  • Vomiting, if the colon is blocked, also vomiting of feces
  • possibly fever and rapid pulse

Examinations in the hospital

A bowel obstruction can be life threatening, so immediate hospitalization is required.

The typical symptoms give the doctor important information. He also asks about the medical history. For example, he learns about previous abdominal operations, general illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, treatment with opioid painkillers and the like.

During the physical examination, the doctor checks whether bulging intestinal loops can be felt and whether the abdomen is hard, painful and defensively tense. With the stethoscope he can initially perceive very lively intestinal noises in the section in front of a mechanical intestinal obstruction. If the intestine is paralyzed, on the other hand, there is a characteristic absolute silence in the stomach.

Ultrasound, x-rays, and blood tests are performed for further examination. In some cases, these examinations also serve to prepare for the operation.
A computed tomography with contrast agent can reliably provide information about the extent of the intestinal obstruction, its exact location and the cause. Sometimes the cause is only cleared up during the operation.

From enema to surgery: treatment options

In the case of an intestinal obstruction, fluids and possibly electrolytes are given via a drip. Pain therapy is also started quickly. A nasogastric tube can be inserted to relieve the gastrointestinal tract. If there is inflammation, antibiotics are given.

If the intestinal obstruction cannot be resolved with medication or enemas alone, surgery is usually carried out. Parts of the intestine can be removed, for example to remove tumors. Sometimes an artificial anus has to be placed temporarily or permanently.

After the operation, the patient is usually fed via a drip until the bowel movement is restored, i.e. the person affected has his first bowel movement.

Causes of an intestinal obstruction

Doctors call it a mechanical ileus if the obstruction is caused by an obstacle in the intestine. These can be cicatricial adhesions in the intestine after an operation, a foreign body, a fecal stone or a tumor. Congenital bowel malformations can also trigger an intestinal obstruction in newborns. If the bowel movement stops due to paralysis, this is medically referred to as functional or paralytic ileus. Such paralysis is often triggered by bowel behavior after an operation, drugs such as opioids, poisoning, inflammation or another disease such as diabetes mellitus.

Prevent an intestinal obstruction

You can do a lot for your intestinal health and thus reduce your risk of ileus:

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits every day and give preference to whole grain products. A high-fiber diet will get your bowels going.

Drink enough: about 1.5 to 2 liters per day. If possible, use still water or juice spritzers with a maximum of one part of juice and at least two parts of water.

Exercise regularly. Even a daily digestive walk of around 20 minutes can effectively support your bowel in its work.

After an abdominal operation, adhesions can form in the abdomen. If you suffer from severe abdominal pain after an intestinal operation and you have no bowel movements, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Go to colon cancer screening. The most common cause of colon obstruction is a tumor. With a colonoscopy, possible changes can be recognized and treated at an early stage.

Have an abdominal wall fracture (med .: hernia) treated. This will prevent a loop of intestine from becoming trapped here.