1.1     Introduction to the study

A client care study of a 45years old woman who came in via the emergency unit to the hospital accompanied by husband and daughter with complain of abdominal pain worse at the epigastric region for the past five days. Pain was said to not radiate to other part of the body, nausea and vomiting. On abdominal examination a tender distension was observed and diagnosis of intestinal obstruction was made.

Intestinal obstruction occurs when blockage prevents the normal flow of intestinal content through the intestinal tract. It is defined as failure in the progression of intestinal contents due to physical obstruction or impaired motor activity of the bowel (paralytic ileus). Two types of processes can impede this flow which are:

  1. Mechanical obstruction: an intraluminal obstruction or a mural obstruction from pressure on the intestinal wall. Examples are: intussusceptions, polypoid, tumors, strictures, adhesions, hernias, stenosis, and abscesses and bezoars(i.e foreign particles created by ingesting unusual substances). (Ansari, 2014)
  2. Functional or paralytic obstruction: this intestinal musculature cannot propel the contents along the bowel. Examples are amyloidosis, muscular dystrophy, endocrine disorders such as; diabetes mellitus or neurological disorder such as Parkinson disease. The blockage also can be temporary and the result from the manipulation of the bowel during surgery (i.e ileus). (Brunner and Suddarth’s, 14th Edition).

The signs and symptoms includes; vomiting, (vomitus is bile stained and feculent (foul), colicky abdominal pain, abdominal distension, nausea, generalized malaise, drowsiness and intense thirst.


There are two classifications of intestinal obstruction which are:

  1. Small bowel obstruction or acute obstruction.
  2. Large bowel obstruction or chronic obstruction.

Small bowel obstruction:

There is a decrease in the absorptive capacity and an increase in the secretion of the bowel proximal to the obstruction. There is significant protein loss. It affects small bowel, the vomitus is typically bile stained. It could be caused by adhesion. (Brunner and Suddath’s 14th Edition)

Large bowel obstruction:

It affects the large bowel and obstruction could lead to rapid distention of the colon and it is more likely to perforate easily than small bowel. It could to cause by diverticulitis.

Intestinal obstruction management could be medically which involves decompressing the bowel through an NG tube mainly for small bowel obstruction or surgically where surgery is done when the bowel is completely obstructed and is possibility of strangulation and tissue necrosis. (Brunner and Suddath’s 14th Edittion)



  1. To know more about the anatomy and physiology of the affected organ
  2. To identify the causes, clinical manifestation of the disease condition
  3. To gain more knowledge about the management and complication of the disease condition.