By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Intestinal obstruction occurs when there is a blockage in the small or large intestine that prevents food from passing through.

The most serious complication of an intestinal obstruction is a loss of blood supply to the digestive tract. This can cause part of the intestine to die. When this happens there can be a build up of pressure and essentially you can have a leak in the gi tract that can allow bacteria to spread throughout the body and into the bloodstream.

People at risk for obstruction or showing signs of it are those who are having symptoms of not being able to pass gas or have a bowel movement. There can be nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal swelling and pain.

Your doctor can tell if there is an issue through an exam or tests like a CT scan. The key is to get help if you have concern.

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