An intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete blockage that results in the failure of the intestinal contents to pass through the bowel. A volvulus is a twisting of the bowel on itself. It is one cause of intestinal obstruction.
Review Date 6/21/2018
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.