How is large bowel obstruction diagnosed?
- Physical exam: The doctor will check to see if you have abdominal pain, vomiting, or any movement of gas or stool in the bowel.
- Complete blood count (CBC): Your blood will be checked for:
- The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
- The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
- The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.
- Abdominal X-ray: An X-ray of the organs inside the abdomen. An X-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
- Barium enema: A liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metallic compound) is put into the rectum. The barium coats the large bowel and X-rays are taken. This test may show what part of the bowel is blocked.
- CT (computed tomography — also called CAT) scan: This scan makes detailed pictures of areas inside of the body.
- Colonoscopy: A doctor inserts a colonoscope into the rectum. This scope is a long, flexible tube-like instrument with a camera on the end. It allows the transmission of an image of the colon lining onto a screen for the doctor to view.