Quickly: I had a ruptured appendix and peritonitis. Soon after I developed a serious adhesion problem. Later I developed endometriosis and more surgery: hysterectomy/lysis of adhesions.
Now that I'm getting older I've been hospitalized many times for small bowel obstructions.
However, I have NOT been hospitalized in nearly two years--ever since I discovered two NEW over the counter pills!!!
1) Digestive Advantage Lactose Intolerance 2) Digestive Advantage Gas Prevention.
Only one pill a day of each and these two little pills have changed my life!! They can be found in most chain drug stores.
I cannot have a colonoscopy--my gastroenterologist has never been able to get inside me with those instruments/scopes because the adhesions make the intestines so fixed--"as in cement" he describes it.
I know what you mean about the bowels not working--it's partly because of the pain medication. I love my doctor. He does not allow me to take meds for pain. He says pain medications cause constipation, and that's the last thing a person with adhesions needs.
I have learned that as we get close to 50 years old, and sometimes earlier, our bodies often no longer produce the needed enzymes to digest certain foods. Foods that were never a problem when we were young begin to cause problems. We get gas and bloating and pain. Milk products or certain legumes, broccoli, etc are gas formers as we get older, because our bodies are no longer producing as much digestive enzymes as when we were younger.
Most older people just get "gassy." But we people with adhesions get pain because our peristalsis is working properly and the gas doesn't move along. So it balloons up, we have pain and then obstruction if we aren't careful.
Moreover, I have discovered that as we get older our bodies become sluggish as the day progresses so that foods become more of a problem later in the day. (Have you noticed how old people prefer to eat their biggest meal at midday rather than in the evening? It's because at night they don't digest their food as well, they get bloated, indigestion, etc. All my obstructions have been at night--when my bowels were more "sluggish."
The pain is mostly from excess gas moving through your intestines. Stay away from surgery. Get plenty of exercise. Take stool softeners (DSS-Docusate Sodium)- generic brand is fine. Remember, surgery may relieve the pain for a short while, but more adhesions will eventually return with a vengence.
Hope that helps. ~ Kathleen in California