Crohn's Disease Forum » Your Story » Symptoms of total obstruction?

06-03-2010, 06:54 PM   #1
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Symptoms of total obstruction?

My surgery for my stricture is being delayed because I was using Humira (due to high likelihood of infection if surgery done now). Will probably have surgery end of next month. Currently have a bad stricture and scar tissue surrounding. Doctor says to watch for worsening symptoms between now and surgery date (as I'm on no medications now). How will I know if I have a total obstruction?
06-03-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Depending on the level of obstruction, bowel obstruction can present with abdominal pain, abdominal distension, vomiting, fecal vomiting, and constipation.

Obstruction may be due to causes within the bowel lumen, within the wall of the bowel, or external to the bowel (such as compression, entrapment or volvulus).

Bowel obstruction may be complicated by dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities due to vomiting; respiratory compromise from pressure on the diaphragm by a distended abdomen, or aspiration of vomitus; bowel ischaemia or perforation from prolonged distension or pressure from a foreign body.

In small bowel obstruction the pain tends to be colicky (cramping and intermittent) in nature, with spasms lasting a few minutes. The pain tends to be central and mid-abdominal. Vomiting occurs before constipation.

In large bowel obstruction the pain is felt lower in the abdomen and the spasms last longer. Constipation occurs earlier and vomiting may be less prominent. Proximal obstruction of the large bowel may present as small bowel obstruction.
06-03-2010, 08:04 PM   #3
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Maybe you should ask your doctor what to look for. The only reason I say this is, is that a couple of the symptoms of bowel obstruction some Crohnie's suffer with anyway, you'll see what I mean. Main symptoms are:
severe cramping
distended abdomen (bloating)
vomiting - bile (green)
vomiting - faecal matter (brown)
passing blood stained mucous
passing clear (jelly like) mucous.

Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
06-03-2010, 08:10 PM   #4
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I don't wish to scare you, but intestinal blockage may very well be one of the most intensely painful experiences a human can endure.

If you think you might be blocked go to the hospital emergency immediately.
06-03-2010, 08:22 PM   #5
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I can attest to the immense nothing I've ever felt before. Mind you, my obstruction led to a perforated sigmoid colon and distended bowel.

Crohn's Diagnosis: May 2006
Current meds: none
Surgeries: Colostomy, December 2009

"Never trust a fart." Jack Nicholson, The Bucket List

Oscar is awesome! Loving my life with my stoma (with a hint of poo)!!

06-04-2010, 05:18 PM   #6
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I wanna add to that about the pain, if you're blocked, you'll know about it!
I've had 2 kids, and it was worse than childbirth and then some!
Just something to add to those symptoms, lower right back pain, very intense where you can't move, sit, stand, roll over, etc, just bloody awful!


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06-04-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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I am with everyone here, there is NOTHING more painful. The horrendous vomitting and pain.... worse than child labour , natural! There is no mistaking it and it is my biggest fear cause I have had a quite a few in my day.
06-04-2010, 05:57 PM   #8
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I got to experience a blockage prior to my surgery as well. I was coming off NPO and doing ok on liquids but had not had a bowel movement. I ate a bowl of Cream-O-Wheat and within 2 hours there was an audible SQUEAK in my lower right. It ridged up so bad I was afraid I would blow. 1/2 hour later I asked for help and when they came in I was literally pushing up against the wall trying to climb away from my guts. Absolute totally agony that took a big old subQ of Morphine, gravol and a sedative to stop me from squirming. I had a nice drug induced nap and awoke in time to puke up some good old black gooey stuff.

You don't want to do that outside the hospital if at all. Go Liquid diet and puddings or what not until your surgery if you can. Rest the bowel as much as possible. It makes for better cutting later on from what I was told. The stitches hold better and the resection heals faster if there is good healthy bowl at the margins instead of inflamed pitted stuff.
Rectum? Damn near Killed'em

Diagnosed July of 2009 / Surgery Oct 2009 / 175mg Imuran since Jan 2010
06-04-2010, 06:36 PM   #9
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I was told by dr to stay as close to liquid diet as possible, but I have to wait about 1 1/2 months now before surgery and am extremely low on energy. How do you stay somewhat healthy/alive while only on a liquid diet? I also work full time job and have been really sick/ in a lot of pain lately.
06-04-2010, 10:34 PM   #10
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Hi, Crohnie2

1.5 months on liquid sounds tough - do let us know how it goes.
Re. your question, Ensure makes a high protein supplement; I used it as a main source of protein while scuba diving last weekend and it worked quite well, energy wise. Depending on what you're able to eat, others on here have posted smoothie recipes, too -- lots of protein in the yogurt, etc.
I tried a "mostly liquid" diet several weeks ago and found it helped significantly with the pain. And once the pain decreased, my energy seemed a little better, too (or that might have been a coincidence).
Take good care!
Dx: Moderate Crohn's in 3 locations
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Turned my Crohn's life around: ginger for nausea.
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06-04-2010, 10:44 PM   #11
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Yeah I had a partial obstruction and the pain was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. Intense spasms, cramps, and gushing water sounds in my bowel that I could see and feel portruding like an alien was in my guts! Haha. I suffered like that for a day and a half. The 2nd day I threw up and knew I had to get to the hospital immediately.
February 2010 - diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
January 2011 - Inflammation downgraded from moderate-severe to mild with no symptoms!
January 2014 - adopted a mostly Paleo diet
May 2015 - still in remission!

Currently Taking
Humira - 40mg/week
Imuran - 125 mg/day
Calcium magnesium citrate
Fermented cod liver oil/butter blend
Culturelle probiotics
Vitamin D
Vitamin C
06-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #12
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I have had a couple of partials, but I can usually get them to pass on their own. I was given a brochure by my GI because of my stricture and it lists what to look for and what you can do on your own, i.e. liquids, warm baths, massaging the area. If there is no relief after 6 hours I'm supposed to go to the ER.

Diagnosed: August 2006
Current Meds: Imuran (125 mg), Budesonide (9 mg)
06-05-2010, 09:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for the all responses. I'm going to ask the dr for more details on this "liquid diet". Will let you know what he says.
06-06-2010, 01:50 AM   #14
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just to echo what's already been said really.... total blockage is one of the most intense and horrendous pains describable... i've had it twice, once was paralytic ileus following surgery, & the 2nd time full on blockage & increasing swelling of my intestines due to eating an apple with skin on... both times i was vomitting, writhing in pain, sweating, and the 2nd occasion i passed out - had to be morphined up before the paramedics could lift me off my bed.

a partial blockage can cause similar symptoms, but usually not so critical.. stopping all solids and drinking hot water helps sometimes - but with a history of strictures, i think i'd advise that if you get any kind of blockage symptoms you see a doctor straight away.

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