Glad to hear that the worst of the SBO is behind you and that you are back at home. Home is where true healing begins.
I have had a few open surgeries . . . And a few SBOs . . . One requiring surgical lysis of adhesions and several that decompressed with an NG tube and bowel rest.
My own opinion is that fate and chance play a large role in the incidence of SBOs. From my surgeon: Most SBOs occur within the first 12-16 months following abdominal surgery. The incidence reduces markedly after 12-16 months as scar tissue/adhesions mature and soften.
Following an acute SBO, as you have had, be cognizant that the segment of intestine above the “kink” or narrowing will remain inflamed and dilated and swollen for a few weeks (10 days-2 weeks). There can also be associated infra-abdominal inflammation (called stranding) due to the release of inflammatory markers and endocrine effects to mediate the stress response. Focus on hydration. Eat small portion sizes, graze. Soft, easy to digest foods (creamed soups, chicken pot pie, steamed carrot medallions).
Hot showers can relax abdominal and back tightened muscles and ease intestinal distress. Relax with a buckwheat microwave warm pack.
Here, too, is an importune time to use a titrated dose of an osmotic laxative (Miralax, Milk of Magnesia) or magnesium supplement (500 mg capsule or powder of magnesium citrate).
The key is to somewhat liquify the consistency of digested food material so that it can pass through swollen or restricted areas with greater ease as you heal from the after effects of the SBO.
People can develop acute constipation with retained food proximal to the area of SBO and this can mimic symptoms of the original SBO - this due to irregular motility, stop and start contractability of the traumatized small intestine coupled with swelling/effusion of the intestinal lumen. All to say . . . Your small intestine has been traumatized and will be in a state of flux and healing for 7-10 days. Keep to soft/easy to digest foods and small portion sizes, focus on hydration more than solid food intake, consider use of an osmotic laxative, move about and walk as you are comfortable to encourage the intestines to move and hum along in synch.
Welcome to the Adhesion’s Club. The first “attack” is always frightening simply because it’s onset is abrupt, intense, and unexpected. The pain is truly enough to bring you to your knees.
Fingers crossed, you may never experience another SBO. But if you do, you’ll have this experience to draw upon to recognize symptoms and to guide you through to the other side.
Dear friend to Bella Piazza, former Colon Club member (NWGirl).
I have a permanent ileostomy and offer advice on living with an ostomy - in loving remembrance of Bella
I am on Palliative Care for broad endocrine failure + Addison's disease + osteonecrosis of both hips/jaw + immunosuppression. I live a simple life due to frail health.