Your intestines are made up of your small intestine and large intestine (also known as your colon). Many disorders may be associated with either or both of your small and large intestines. These disorders could be transient or even progress to a significant problem if not looked into appropriately.

Learning About Intestines

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Intestinal/ Bowel Obstruction

A bowel or intestinal obstruction can happen when either of your intestines (small or large) gets partly or completely blocked. This blockage may prevent food, fluids, and gases from frequently moving through the intestines and could even cause recurrent severe pain.


The primary reasons for an intestinal or bowel blockage are:

  • Scar tissue (adhesions)

  • Hernias

  • Tumors (cancer)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease (can twist or narrow your intestines)

Major Symptoms of a Blocked Bowel or Intestine

  • Cramping and belly pain usually around or below the belly button

  • Vomiting

  • Bloating and a large, hard belly

  • Constipation

  • Lack of gas release

  • Diarrhea (due to a partly blocked intestine)


You should call your doctor right away if the pain is severe and constant. It may also mean that your intestine’s blood supply is cut off or that it has a hole in it.


Ileus is the medical term given to the lack of movement in your intestines. This leads to a buildup or blockage of food material. It can lead again to an intestinal blockage and without any form of bowel obstruction treatment it can perforate or tear your intestine. If you want to know whether or not you have Ileus, look out for any gastrointestinal symptoms. You'll notice that your stomach and intestines will start filling up with gas that you can’t pass resulting in a tight and swollen appearance.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Are You A Victim?

  • Lots of gas or bloating

  • Harder or looser stools than normal

  • A belly that sticks out

Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Constipation alternating with diarrhea

  • Stomach pains or cramps

When Should You See A Doctor?

It becomes critical to approach a doctor if you see a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you notice any more severe conditions, such as symptoms of colon cancer which includes but isn't limited to:

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Abdominal pain usually progressing or occurring at night

  • Weight loss

Afraid you might have Intestinal Cancer?

Your small intestine or small bowel is located between your stomach and colon. Its primary function is to digest and absorb nutrients in the food. It easily becomes prone to cancerous or malignant tumors that have the potential to invade your bowel walls. Symptoms of Small Bowel Cancer include:

  • Weight loss

  • Iron deficiency (anemia)

  • Visible blood loss

  • Jaundice

  • Nausea

  • Bloating

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fatigue

Should You Consider Surgery?

Your intestines are very long so doctors at High Plains Surgical Associates would suggest you to forego a part of them if need be. You can indeed live a long and healthy life without a portion of it while facing just a minor effect on your digestive process.

Dr. Sara Hartsaw (General Surgeon and owner of High Plains Surgical Associates) along with her associate Dr. Jake Rinker (General Surgeon) have been working relentlessly to provide the citizens of Gillette, Wyoming with the leading surgical services since 1994. Get in touch with the most compassionate medical experts and surgeons that offer life changing experiences.