Bowel obstruction, also called intestinal obstruction, happens when something is entirely or partially blocking the 20 to 30 feet long intestines (small and large), preventing food, liquid, or stool from passing through smoothly and intercepting the normal function of the whole digestive system. Mechanical or non-mechanical factors usually cause this obstruction. Mechanical obstruction means there is a physical blockage in the intestines – it could be that the intestines are intertwined (found in cases for children with malrotation), there is a growing tumor, scar tissues, gallstones that have already developed and formed, tiny objects that are accidentally swallowed (especially by children), adhesions after major surgical operations, colon and ovarian cancer, or stool stuck in the rectum.
Non-mechanical (also known as ileus) is temporary, and there’s no physical blockage; however, the bowels disrupt food movement through the digestive tract. This ileus includes infections like appendicitis and gastroenteritis or strong consumption of narcotics. When there is a bowel blockage, the blood flow is obstructed and creates pressure, leading to intestinal bacteria leakage into the bloodstream. When this happens, a part of the intestines dies, and the condition could be life-threatening.
Constipation is a common health condition experienced by different age groups, from infants and children to adults. It happens when a stool or waste slowly moves through the digestive tract and blocks the passageway. If this waste is not eliminated from the rectum, it becomes hard, dry, and lumpy, which makes it more difficult to excrete. The bowels sometimes force their way out, resulting in blood in the stool and tears in the skin through the anus, making it bleed uncontrollably.
Though the regularity of bowel movement varies from person to person, it should usually range from three times every day to less than three times a week. The waste produced should be soft, well-formed, and not very hard to push out. There is no absolute number of times a person should excrete stool. However, when this frequency diverts from its regular pattern, there is extreme pain during excretion, and there is a feeling of fullness in the stomach even after a bowel movement; then maybe, there is constipation. A change of diet should be practiced to get back on the healthy track, with the help of liquids (especially water) and other fruits or fresh vegetables.