Blockage of the small intestine or large intestine, resulting from either lack of peristalsis or mechanical obstruction (e.g., by narrowing, foreign objects, or hernia). Obstruction near the start of the small intestine often causes vomiting. Near the end or in the large intestine, backed-up waste and swallowed air cause intestinal distention; the resulting pressure may cause necrosis (death of intestinal wall tissue). Waste products may escape into the bloodstream. Symptoms and treatment depend on the obstruction's nature and location.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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