Intestinal blockage in children could be a more serious condition, than when it affects adults. Know about some important facts about this condition from this article.
Intestinal blockage, also known as bowel obstruction, as the name suggests, refers to a problem that occurs when the small intestine or the large intestine (colon) is blocked. This blockage could be a partial or a complete one. And, as obvious it is, this causes the movement of fluid, food and gas in the intestines to get impaired, and give rise to all sorts of unpleasant symptoms.
What May Indicate Bowel Obstruction in Children?
As mentioned, when foods, fluid and gas are prevented from moving in the intestines, many uncomfortable symptoms begin to show up. The most characteristic symptom that points to intestinal blockage in children and adults, is a cramp like pain that is felt to be originating from the abdominal region. This pain has a typical nature of occurring, settling down and occurring again. The pain is made worse by nausea or vomiting, diarrhea (causes by partially blockage) and constipation. (complete blockage). The patient remains unable to pass gas, and this might make the pain even worse. The condition may cause the abdomen to swell in some cases.
The Causal Agents
What Blocks the Colon (Large Intestine)?
Factors which are commonly associated with blockage of the colon may include
- Volvulus (refers to a condition wherein the large intestine gets twisted).
- Feces that are wedged together.
- The colon may suffer inflammation and scarring thus, causing it to get narrow and cause the blockage.
- Diverticulitis (occurs when diverticula becomes inflamed or infected; diverticula are small bulging pouches).
- Cancer of the large intestine.
What Blocks the Small Intestine?
With the small intestines, the common offenders may include:
- Hernia (the condition causes portions of the intestine to protrude into another part of the body).
- Formation of tumors in the small intestine.
- Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease).
- Intussusception of the small intestine.
- Formation of bands of fibrous tissue, which could result from a surgery of the abdominal or pelvic region.
The above causes are known to cause mechanical obstruction. But apart from them, there are some more diseases which can keep the intestines from functioning properly thus, resulting in a blockage. These may include surgery of the abdominal region, certain infection, medications, surgery of the pelvic region, and disorders of the muscle and nerves.
In most cases, if the problem is diagnosed as a partial blockage then, then there is nothing much to be concerned about. Such cases are self-resolving, or at the most, may require conservative treatment methods such as enemas, medications, and a low-fiber diet. However, complete intestinal blockage in children, can be a serious concern. Usually, a macroscopic surgery is performed on the patient. The surgical procedure usually depends upon the part of the intestine that has been affected and the underlying cause. It is to be known that, surgical or non-surgical, treatment for intestinal obstruction requires hospitalization.
Cases which do not involve any mechanical obstruction, but some other health disorder, then the patient’s condition is monitored for a day or two at the hospital. Such cases are often temporary. However, if the condition still persists, then medications to help food and fluids move through the intestines are prescribed by the doctor.
Intestinal blockage is a condition that may not go down well for the little ones, unlike in adults. Their bodies are not fully developed to take the pain of such uncomfortable symptoms. So as soon as parents notice symptoms, as listed above, in their children, they should visit a pediatrician at the earliest.