Acute Intestinal Obstruction

The 3 main types of acute intestinal obstruction are paralytic ileus, mechanical obstruction, and vascular obstruction.

  1. Paralytic ileus: Obstruction is due to inhibition of intestinal motility: Vomiting and intractable constipation are common symptoms. Peristalsis is markedly diminished or absent. The abdomen is distended and may or may not be tender. TCM diagnosis of Food stagnation, or Qi stagnation apply to this condition.

  2. Mechanical obstruction: The lumen of the bowel is blocked due to incarceration, strangulation, neoplasm or volvulus. Crampy abdominal pain is typical; inability to pass stools is always noted. Vomiting is usually present. The abdomen is distended with hyperactive peristalsis. TCM diagnosis of Blood Stagnation, or Internal Cold could apply to this condition.

  3. Vascular obstruction: The most common causes are mesenteric artery occlusion and mesenteric vein thrombosis. Patients are usually elderly. There is sudden onset of severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools and shock. The abdomen is tender, peristalsis diminished or absent. TCM diagnosis of Spleen Qi Deficiency, Blood stagnation could apply to this condition.


ST 36 Zusanli


Paralytic intestinal obstruction:
0.25 mg of neostigmine is injected into ST 36 Zusanli.

0.25 mg of atropine is injected in ST 36 Zusanli.


The source text for this information did not provide protocols for mechanical obstruction or vascular obstruction. Presumably, these two causes for acute intestinal obstruction are not adequately addressed by point injection therapy.

If the symptoms show no improvement after 6 - 24 hours of observation, surgical treatment should be taken.

Source: The Treatment of 100 Common Diseases by New Acupuncture, Medicine and Health Publishing Company






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acute.intestinal.ob.shtml was last modified Sep 27 2008.