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Severe Stomach Pain May Be Intestinal Obstruction

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - One of the most common reasons why people go to the emergency room is severe belly pain and about 15 percent of people who go to the ER with abdominal pain have intestinal obstruction as the cause.

Intestinal obstruction occurs when there is an interruption of forward flow of intestinal contents.

Certainly the discomfort is a major issue but if not recognized and treated intestinal obstruction can lead to bowel ischemia, where there is actually death of the tissue due to a lack of blood supply.

Most people with the problem have abdominal pain as well as nausea, vomiting and the inability to pass gas.

It can be treated and, in many cases, without surgery but one of the biggest jobs is trying to find the cause.