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small bowel kink

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Help! I've been hospitalized several times since my November resection for Stage 1 colon cancer. It was originally thought that my pain and distress was coming from "backing up" quite a bit. I've been on a heavy regimen of Miralax and Benefiber. The problem persists. I just spent another couple of days in the hospital with the same pain, relieved only by Morphine. I'm having an upper GI test and small bowel follow-through on Tuesday. Doctors think it may be a kink in the small bowel. Has anyone had this? What symptoms did you have? How was the situation resolved? I could concentrate so much less on the whole cancer patient thing if I could just feel good for one minute since the surgery.


jenhopesprays's picture
Posts: 129
Joined: Sep 2007

I just read about this and am putting up a link I found helpful.

Drink lots of water or herbal tea to get those fluids. Walk, walk, walk for peristalsis to help get things moving. Chew your food into
tiny little pieces. Are you taking stool softeners too?

This link may be helpful:

Hope this helps!

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Thanks, Jennifer. I'll check out that site. That's the thing, I HAVE been walking. And the Miralax makes my stool plenty soft. So that's kind of why they think it may be something that will have to be surgically taken care of. Possibly. We'll know more after Tuesday. Love my doctor, but I don't need to see him quite as often as I have been!


KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi, I have experienced a small bowel kink. Not fun at all. Mine started with bouts of slight pain high in my abdominal area. I also felt a lot of pressure and lived on phazyme and maalox. I didn't realize anything was truly wrong until one sunday morning I started having horrible spasms of pain that radiated into my back. I would have them almost every hour for about 5 minutes then they would let up. That went on for about 18 hours and when I started vomiting that is when I went to the ER. After being misdiagnosed and sent home I went back 24 hours later still vomiting, in horrible pain, and keeping nothing down.
A CT scan and xrays showed the kinked small bowel (had progressed into a full blockage). They put an NG tube in and I was not allowed to have anything to eat or drink. Given IV fluids and my electrolytes were messed up big time. I got up and walked a lot. This went on for 3 days and when they saw no improvement surgery was done. My surgeon said that the kink was caused by adhesions (fibrous bands of tissue) from the radiation and original surgery. My kink would have never cleared on its own. I was told it was bad luck and that obstructions don't happen to the majority of patients.
There are several people on this site that have cleared there blockages on their own without surgery. They could probably give you additional advice. Knock on wood I have not had any since then. I try to drink lots of water and chew my food well.

Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!!


Posts: 513
Joined: Nov 2007

I didn't experience anything like this, although, I had undiagnosed sever abdominal pain in October - (surgery was in late January) but it hasn't come back. Where are you being treated? Seems like what you are experiencing is above and beyond anything you should expect. It seems they have had a hard time diagnosing anything.


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Pam, I do trust my main doctor quite a bit. As he said, we've been going through a process of elimination. Since I presented with lots of pain and lots of stool seen on x-rays, it first appeared that must be the case. Also, the problem in the small bowel (if that's what is is) is difficult to see on the scans and x-rays I've had so far (I've read this on many websites, as well). It's been a tough problem, and I'll be very glad to feel better one day VERY soon, but I don't blame my doctor for it.


jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Gail,
I was very interested in your post; I had surgery 4 and a half years ago, and starting around 2 years ago, I got some amazing pain/cramping in my upper abdomen, sort of right under my ribs and sometimes more to the left. The pain was often related to position...exercizing with my knees to my chest, or putting my foot up on the bed to tie a shoe. An x ray revealed nothing, and the pain only happens occasionally; my GI doc and onc are both of the opinion that it is either a trapped gas pocket or an adhesion acting up. I swear that I feel a twisting motion internally; standing up or straightening up quickly helps, but I am afraid that if it doesn't go away quickly, it will mean a kink, twist or obstruction. My doc has recommended that I call 911 if it does not go away in a short time! By the way, I take miralax religiously, but found that the fiber preps gave me too much bulk and gas. Has anyone recommended magnesium supplements to you; a recent suggestion I got from a nurse friend.
Good luck and keep us posted. Judy

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

I have not had any recommendations on magnesium supplements. Thanks for the tip, Judy.


jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

My husband,Don, had the same pain that Kiersten describes. He had just had a resection of the small intestine to remove a cancerous tumor and was doing pretty well when this occurred. He went to ER and his surgeon just happened to be on call and kept him in the hospital. He thought that there could be a kink that would clear on it's own. They gave him an IV and no food or drink for 3 days, essentially shutting down his digestive system, then started him on liquids for 2 days. When he began to get things to pass through ok, they started soft solids. He was able to go home after that, but was told to watch his diet for a while. The surgeon was ready to go in and remove the kink if it had not cleared on it's own. This happened about 4 weeks ago and he is ok now and is not watching his diet as closely as maybe he should, and there is always the chance that it could happen again.
When they did his surgery, the small intestine was taken out of the body through a 4 inch incision and resectioned, and I can't help but wonder if it just got in a kink when they put it back in. Sounds resonable anyway.
Jo Ann

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