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Does bloating indicate partial small bowel blockage?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2565 Questions
I am a 50 year old male with bloating and a full feeling after only consuming a protein shake (2% milk, protein powder, and lowfat yogurt). Back in April 2013 I was hospitalized with a partial small bowel blockage where no cause was determined. Not sure if I'm heading down the same road again... Can you suggest anything?
Posted Sun, 23 Feb 2014 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Considerations Detailed Answer: Hello & thank you for submitting your question Your concern for recurrent bowl obstruction is understandable. In this instance, however, it is incredibly difficult to exclude the dairy/lactose-rich & dense protein drink as the cause of your symptoms. These types of drinks often cause fullness & bloating in patients. They can also cause diarrhea or constipation. If you begin to experience worsening of your symptoms and/or early satiation, bloating, abdominal distinction, pain, or change in bowel consistency with other foods, it would be very reasonable to see a physician for a proper physical exam & possible imaging studies. In the meantime, it may be beneficial to reduce the amount of dairy consumed at once. You might eve consider taking supplements to help with lactose digestion if you are especially dedicated to your protein shakes. Always make sure to drink adequate amounts of water. Again, thank you for submitting your question and I hope this provided some insight. Take care, Dr G
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Follow-up: Does bloating indicate partial small bowel blockage? 21 minutes later
Thank you for the reply... I will try and reduce large amounts of dairy consumed at once. This has come up over the last 2 days. Saturday night I ate spicy foods and red wine, and felt somewhat of a burning or stomach irritation within 20 minutes. Also, yesterday's Superbowl celebration party had tortilla chips and guacamole that I most likely ate too much of, and felt very similar to the night before. Could this be a temporary situation that needs to settle down with a mild diet over the next couple days?
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 27 minutes later
Brief Answer: Follow up Detailed Answer: Hello again, Yes the types of food you describe definitely can set you up for abdominal upset. I suggest for the next couple days, try to eat smaller amounts of food about 4-5 times per day--essentially, try to avoid large meals all at once for the next day or so. Warm water (or herbal caffeine free tea, if you prefer) can also help with these symptoms & help digestion especially after larger meals. Of course, if you experience pain, any worsening of symptoms or the other sensations I previously described, do not hesitate to see your physician. Thanks again, Dr G
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