Foods That Cause Bowel Obstruction | Bowel Obstruction Diet

Intestinal obstruction is a severe condition in which food and air cannot travel further than the obstructed place. This obstruction may be partial or complete in both the large and small intestines and one or more places.

It occurs when the blockage prevents the flow of contents through the intestinal tract.

Now we see about foods that cause bowel obstruction.

bowel obstruction
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Table of Contents

Food that cause bowel obstruction

Vegetables that cause Bowel Obstruction broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cabbage, brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, green peas, radishes and corn.

Fruits that cause Bowel Obstruction mainly Citrus fruits and dried fruits and bananas, apples, grapes, raisins, prunes and melons.

Junk food, spicy oily food can also cause bowel obstruction.

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Large bowel obstruction

Large bowel obstruction is the one that occurs when the blockage prevents the flow of contents through the large intestinal tract.

Causes of Large Bowel Obstruction

  • Neoplasm
  • Diverticulitis
  • Hernias
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Adhesions
  • Constipation
  • Fecal impaction
  • Colon atresia 
  • Intestinal pseudoobstruction 
  • Endometriosis
  • Narcotic induced

Signs and Symptoms

  • Constipation
  • Blood in the stool, which results in iron deficiency anemia.
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss 
  • Anorexia
  • Distension of abdomen
  • Loops of large bowel become visibly outlined through the abdominal wall 
  • Abdominal cramps and lower abdominal pain
  • Fecal vomiting develops
  • Symptoms of shock may appear
  • Swollen abdomen

Diagnostic Test

  • History collection
  • Abdominal X-Ray 
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Abdominal MRI
  • Laboratory tests 
  • WBC test
  • sigmoidoscopy
  • colonoscopy

Non-surgical Management

  • Provide fluid and electrolyte therapy to the patient
  • Nasogastric suctioning to decompress the bowel
  • Provide treatment for peritonitis
  • Provide total parenteral nutrition to correct protein deficiency from chronic obstruction
  • Analgesics
  • Antibiotics

Surgical Management

  • Consists of relieving the obstruction. Options include:
  • Closed bowel procedure
  • Enterotomy 
  • An intestinal bypass around the obstruction
  • A temporary ostomy may indicate.
  • Ileoanal anastomosis if the entire large colon to removed


  • Death due to the shock
  • Peritonitis
  • Dehydration

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Small bowel instruction

Small bowel obstruction occurs when the blockage prevents the flow of contents through the small intestinal tract.

Causes of Small Bowel Obstruction

  • Adhesions from previous abdominal surgery. 
  • Pseudo obstruction 
  • Hernias 
  • Neoplasms (benign or malignant) 
  • Intussusceptions in children 
  • Ischemic strictures 
  • Foreign bodies 
  • Intestinal atresia 

Diagnostic test

  • History collection 
  • Abdominal X-Ray 
  • Abdominal CT scan 
  • Abdominal MRI
  • Laboratory tests

Signs and Symptoms

  • The initial symptom is usually crampy pain that is wavelike and colicky.
  • Patients may pass blood and mucous, but no fecal matter or flatus.
  • Vomiting
  • If the obstruction is complete, then peristaltic waves become too vigorous and assume a reverse direction, propelling the intestinal contents towards the mouth.
  • If the obstruction is in the ileum, then fecal vomiting takes place.
  • Drowsiness
  • General malaise
  • Aching
  • Distended abdomen, If uncorrected, then hypovolemic shock occurs due to dehydration.

Medical management

  • Nonsurgical Management
  • Nasogastric suctioning to decompress the bowel.
  • Provide treatment for peritonitis.
  • Provide total parenteral nutrition to correct protein deficiency from chronic obstruction.
  • Analgesics
  • Antibiotics

Surgical Management

  • Consists of relieving the obstruction. Options include:
  • Closed bowel procedure
  • Enterotomy 
  • An intestinal bypass around the obstruction
  • indication of a temporary ostomy
  • Ileoanal anastomosis if the entire large colon to remove.

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Bowel obstruction diet

Minor changes to diet and lifestyle can help lower the risk of bowel obstructions. 

Aging slows down the digestive system. As a result, people may want to change their diet later in life to balance this out.

Suggested diet changes include:

  • Less eating
  • chewing food properly
  • avoiding high-fiber foods, such as wholegrain cereals
  • cutting down on caffeine, which can burn the bowel
  • Avoiding tricky or sticky foods, like dried meat
  • Taking peeling fruit and vegetables
  • cooking food until it softens
  • concentrating on soup or eating moist dishes, such as those with sauces or soft

A few other article that you might be help:

Specific lifestyle changes can help boost digestive health.

  • exercising regularly
  • keeping hydrated
  • trying to limit stress, depression, or another mental status.
  • avoiding smoking
  • drinking less alcohol

If a person has difficulty with bowel movements, stool softeners can help.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the difference between large bowel obstruction and small bowel obstruction?

Small and large bowel obstructions have many overlapping signs. However, quality, timing, and presentation differ. Commonly in SBO, abdominal pain is intermittent and colicky but improves with vomiting, while the pain associated with large bowel obstructions is continuous.

How can the bowel obstruction can fully cure by medicine?

Most bowel obstructions require treatment. Medication may treat mild cases, while surgery is necessary in around 20% of cases. Severe obstructions may eventually cause an intestinal rupture if left untreated. Medication and bowel rest may treat mild cases.

Difference between intestinal obstruction and intestinal cancer?

Inflammation, surgeries, or cancer can cause bowel obstruction in many cases. It’s more likely to occur in older people. Bowel obstructions can happen in your small or large intestine, but they’re more likely to be in the small intestine.

How to prevent bowel obstruction?

To prevent bowel obstruction

  1. Try to eat smaller quantities of food better often.
  2. Chew your food 
  3. Avoid high-fiber foods and raw vegetables and fruits with skins, husks, strings, or seeds. …
  4. Check with your doctor before eating whole grain foods or using a fiber supplement such as Benefiber or Metamucil.

How do you clear a bowel obstruction naturally?

If your doctor has notified you to stay at home for a blockage to clear on its own:

  1. Follow your doctor’s instructions. They may have to eat a liquid diet to avoid complete blockage.
  2. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. …heating pad on low on your gut to reduce mild cramps and pain.


Eating healthy food is essential to stay healthy. So, try to eat food in smaller quantities and more often, chew your food better.

Intestinal obstruction should be treated in time. A bowel obstruction can cause the tissue in the affected part of your bowel to die. If left untreated, it can lead to serious infection and injury.

Most cases of intestinal obstruction are treatable depending on your approach to the condition.

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