Bowel Obstruction

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


A bowel obstruction can either be a mechanical or functional obstruction of the small or large intestines. The obstruction occurs when the lumen of the bowel becomes either partially or completely blocked. Obstruction frequently causes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation-to-obstipation, and distention. This, in turn, prevents the normal movement of digested products. Small bowel obstructions (SBOs) are more common than large bowel obstructions (LBOs) and are the most frequent indication for surgery on the small intestines. Bowel obstructions are classified as a partial, complete, or closed loop. A closed-loop obstruction refers to a type of obstruction in the small or large bowel in which there is complete obstruction distally and proximally in the given segment of the intestine.

Publication types

  • Study Guide