What is a blocked bowel?

Sometimes, bowel cancer can narrow the bowel, which stops poo (stools) from passing through. This can cause symptoms such as tummy pain and vomiting. It usually needs to be treated urgently. It can be treated in two ways.

Stenting to relieve a blocked bowel

Sometimes, bowel cancer can narrow the bowel, which stops poo (stools) from passing through. This can cause symptoms such as tummy pain and vomiting. It usually needs to be treated urgently. It can be treated in two ways.

The surgeon uses a colonoscope to insert an expandable metal tube (stent) into the blockage. The tube then expands to hold the bowel open.

The cancer causing the blockage may be removed with an operation at a later date.

A part of the bowel with a stent inside

Surgery to relieve a blocked bowel

Sometimes, a bowel obstruction is treated with an operation to remove the blocked section of bowel. The surgeon may remove the cancer at the same time or do this later in another operation. Most people will have a temporary or permanent stoma after this operation.

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