Gastric Outlet Obstruction—Adult

(Pyloric Obstruction)

Gas-trik Owt-let Ob-struk-shun


Gastric outlet obstruction (GOO) is a blockage of the path from the stomach to the small intestines. It may completely block of the path or allow a small amount to pass. The blockage can cause pain and stop food from being digested.


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The blockage is caused by problems of nearby tissue such as:

  • Swelling from peptic ulcer (most common cause)
  • Swelling from nearby pancreas
  • Abnormal growth of tissue such as:
    • Scar tissue due to a peptic ulcer
    • A cancer growth

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of gastric outlet obstruction include having:


Symptoms may include:

  • Regular, frequent feeling of bloating or fullness
  • Feeling full after eating less food
  • Nausea and vomiting of undigested food, especially right after eating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling


You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Images may be needed to look for blockages. This can be done with:

  • X-rays of the abdomen with special dye such as barium
  • Endoscopy—scope that shows the interior of the stomach and intestines

A test will also be done to test the movement of food through your stomach.


The goal of treatment is to open the pathway. The exact steps will depend on the cause. Options include:

  • Medicine to help stop swelling.
  • Procedures to remove scar tissue or tumors.


A hospital stay may be needed for a severe blockage. Support may include:

  • IV fluids—for hydration and electrolytes
  • Removal of trapped solids, liquids, or gasses from the stomach—a tube is passed through the nose to the stomach


If you have peptic ulcer disease, follow your care plan.


American Gastroenterological Association

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians


Canadian Association of Gastroenterology

Health Canada


Gastric outlet obstruction. website. Available at: Accessed December 12, 2018.

Kalyanakrishnan R, et al. Peptic Ulcer Disease. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Oct 1;76(7):1005-1012. Available at: Accessed December 12, 2018.

Peptic Ulcer Disease. Merck Manual for Professionals. Available at: Accessed December 12, 2018.

Stomach Ulcer-Complications. NHS Choices website. Available at: Updated May 21, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2018.

Last reviewed August 2018 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 12/31/2018