Using history, examination and investigation the clinician should be able to decide if the patient has intestinal obstruction.
Pay particular attention to the differential diagnoses and consider the need for CT scanning or contrast enemas to help the diagnosis if necessary. This will help rule out acute colonic pseudo-obstruction.
The other main clinical problem here is the patient who presents with obstruction with a history of previous abdominal surgery. Does the patient have complete or incomplete obstruction. The clinician should consider a trial of Gastrografin to clarify the situation and save time.