How is small bowel obstruction diagnosed?

  • Medical history: The doctor will ask the patient about any previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries or relevant procedures that have been done.
  • Physical examination: The doctor will examine the abdominal area for signs of swelling, pain, masses, bulges or hernias, surgical scars, or tenderness.
  • Blood tests: A complete blood count and electrolyte analysis will be done.

In cases where patients have fever, low blood pressure, or rapid heartbeat, other lab tests may be needed, including:

  • Abdominal X-rays: Basic X-rays can sometimes show whether the small bowel is obstructed.
  • Computed tomography (CT scan): A CT scan may be done to confirm a diagnosis and give more accurate information about the cause and the site of obstruction.

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