What is Intestinal Knotting? What are the symptoms?


What You Need to Know About Intestinal Knotting: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications

Intestinal knotting, also known as bowel obstruction, is a condition that occurs when the small or large intestine is partially or completely blocked. It can be a painful and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. In this article, we will explore what intestinal knotting is, its different types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and complications.

What is Intestinal Knotting?

Intestinal knotting or bowel obstruction happens when there is a blockage in the small or large intestine. This blockage can be partial or complete and can prevent food, liquids, and gases from passing through the digestive tract. As a result, it can lead to severe abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Types of Intestinal Knotting

There are two main types of intestinal knotting: mechanical and non-mechanical.

Mechanical Intestinal Knotting

Mechanical intestinal knotting occurs when there is a physical blockage in the intestine, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Adhesions or scar tissue
  • Hernias
  • Tumors
  • Intussusception (when one part of the intestine slides into another part)
  • Volvulus (twisted intestine)
  • Fecal impaction (when hardened stool blocks the intestine)

Non-Mechanical Intestinal Knotting

Non-mechanical intestinal knotting happens when there is no physical blockage in the intestine, but the bowel function is impaired due to:

  • Ileus or paralytic ileus (when the intestine is not moving as it should)
  • Ogilvie syndrome (when there is an abnormal dilation of the colon)
  • Mesenteric ischemia (when the blood flow to the intestine is reduced)

Causes of Intestinal Knotting

There are several causes of intestinal knotting, including:

  • Previous abdominal surgery that causes adhesions or scar tissue
  • Certain medications, such as opioids or anticholinergics
  • Intestinal tumors or growths
  • Hernias
  • Twisted or blocked intestine due to volvulus or intussusception
  • Impacted feces
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis

Symptoms of Intestinal Knotting

The symptoms of intestinal knotting can vary depending on the severity of the blockage and the location of the obstruction. Some common symptoms include:

  • Severe abdominal pain and cramping
  • Bloating and distention of the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fever and chills

Diagnosis of Intestinal Knotting

To diagnose intestinal knotting, your doctor may perform several tests, including:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will examine your abdomen for any signs of bloating, tenderness, or distention.
  • X-ray: An X-ray of the abdomen can show the presence of any blockages or gas accumulation in the intestine.
  • CT scan: A CT scan can provide more detailed images of the intestine and help identify the location and cause of the obstruction.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound can be used to diagnose intestinal obstruction in pregnant women or children.

Bowel Knot Treatment

The treatment of intestinal knotting depends on the severity and cause of the obstruction. In some cases, the obstruction may resolve on its own, but in most cases, medical or surgical intervention is required.

Non-surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Bowel rest: This involves fasting and allowing the intestine to rest and heal.
    • Intravenous fluids: This involves giving fluids and electrolytes through a vein to prevent dehydration and maintain hydration.
    • Nasogastric tube: A tube is inserted through your nose into your stomach to remove any gas or fluids and relieve pressure on the intestine.
    • Medications: Medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms such as pain and nausea.

    Surgical Treatment

    Surgical treatment may be necessary if the obstruction is severe or if non-surgical treatment options are ineffective. The type of surgery depends on the location and cause of the obstruction and may involve:

    • Intestinal resection: This involves removing the blocked portion of the intestine and reattaching the healthy portions.
    • Adhesiolysis: This procedure involves cutting and removing the adhesions or scar tissue that is causing the obstruction.
    • Hernia repair: If the obstruction is caused by a hernia, surgery may be necessary to repair the hernia.

    Intestinal Knotting Complications

    Intestinal knotting can lead to several complications if left untreated, including:

    • Tissue death: When the blood supply to the intestine is cut off for an extended period, it can lead to tissue death (necrosis).
    • Perforation: The intestine can become perforated or develop a hole, leading to infection and peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity).
    • Sepsis: If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, it can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition.


    Intestinal knotting or bowel obstruction is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including adhesions, hernias, tumors, and impacted feces. The symptoms can vary but typically include severe abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. Treatment options include bowel rest, IV fluids, and medications, and surgery may be necessary in severe cases. Complications can be severe, so it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you suspect intestinal knotting.


    1. Can intestinal knotting resolve on its own? In some cases, the obstruction may resolve on its own, but medical intervention is often required.
    2. What are the common causes of intestinal knotting? The common causes of intestinal knotting include adhesions, hernias, tumors, and impacted feces.
    3. Is surgery always necessary for intestinal knotting? Surgery may be necessary if non-surgical treatment options are ineffective or if the obstruction is severe.
    4. What are the complications of intestinal knotting? Complications of intestinal knotting can include tissue death, perforation, and sepsis.
    5. How can I prevent intestinal knotting? Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, avoiding certain medications, and seeking prompt medical attention for any abdominal pain or discomfort can help prevent intestinal knotting.
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