Digestion and Nutrition: Obstructions & Blockages

Cancer patients may experience obstructions and blockages prior to, and/or following, surgery. Obstructions may affect patients experiencing gastrointestinal disorders/diseases for a variety of reasons, among them tumors, adhesions, and often, as a result of dietary choices. Due to the challenges caused by obstructions, patients should consult with their own physician specialist and/or a registered dietician to review their specific needs. Here is a list of general* guidelines.

Symptoms of obstructions:

Severe abdominal pain
Nausea, lack of appetite
Vomiting, including projectile vomiting
Bloating, in ability to have a bowel movement

Who is prone to obstructions?

Patients affected by adhesions, scar tissue and/or tumors
Patients who are bedridden, and/or who require particular medications

Physical contributors to obstructions:

Scar tissue
Lack of physical exercise
Medication especially narcotics prescribed for pain and some chemotherapies

Dietary contributors to obstructions:

Those prone to obstructions, should approach fiber dense foods with caution or avoid* altogether:

Nuts and snacks, including popcorn hulls,etc,
Fibrous fruits or fruits with skins and/or seeds, ie grapes, raisins, citrus membranes, pineapple, etc,
Fibrous vegetables, raw or undercooked vegetables ie artichokes, cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, lettuces, etc.
Other foods that may move more slowly through the digestive system including meat products, beef, poultry, etc.

To avoid obstructions caused by diet:

Chew foods thoroughly
Use a commercial stool softener*
Drink adequate amounts of water
Add a fiber supplement to your diet*
Increase physical exercise*

Consult with your physician specialist and/or a registered dietician to review your specific needs.

Articles posted in “PMP Pals” are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. Patients should seek the counsel of their licensed, healthcare professionals.
Copyright© 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals’ Network/All rights reserved.
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