Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests and procedures used to diagnose intestinal obstruction include:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. He or she will also do a physical exam to assess your situation. The doctor may suspect intestinal obstruction if your abdomen is swollen or tender or if there's a lump in your abdomen. He or she may listen for bowel sounds with a stethoscope.
  • Imaging tests. To confirm a diagnosis of intestinal obstruction, your doctor may recommend an abdominal X-ray or CT scan. These tests also help your doctor determine if the obstruction is paralytic ileus or a mechanical obstruction, and if the obstruction is partial or complete.
Dec. 18, 2012

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