How do I Treat a Perforated Bowel?

A perforated bowel is a serious medical condition that is typically treated as a medical emergency. It happens when a hole, rip, tear, or puncture occurs in the bowel. This unnatural opening then allows the contents of the bowel to spill into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a very dangerous blood infection. An infection of this type must be treated swiftly; even short delays can result in the death of the patient.

Since a perforated bowel is such a serious condition, it is not treatable at home, with over-the-counter drugs, or with natural remedies. Instead, this disease usually requires surgical treatment. In such a case, a surgeon opens the abdominal cavity to clean the patient out and then repairs the tear or puncture in the bowel.

In some cases, a bowel perforation also leads to medical issues that involve other sections of the patient’s intestine. When this happens, the patient may need a temporary colostomy. This involves moving part of the patient’s large intestine into his abdominal wall and directing intestinal waste into a bag that it positioned outside of the patient’s body.

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Treatment of a perforated bowel also requires management of the infection that occurs when bowel bacteria move into the abdomen. The patient may be given potent antibiotics while he is hospitalized, and he will usually need to continue an antibiotic course following successful treatment. This course of treatment is used to not only help fight the current infection, but also to prevent infection recurrence.

Following treatment of a bowel perforation, a patient will need to see his doctor and receive follow-up care on a regular basis. If doctors were able to pinpoint underlying conditions that led to the problem, these conditions will require treatment as well. For example, conditions like Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis may place a person more at risk of developing a perforation. However, there are cases in which people develop the condition without any warning or obvious cause.

A perforated bowel can also occur as the result of an injury or trauma. For example, a serious blow to the abdomen could be at fault. A stabbing or deep gash in the area could put a person at risk as well.

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Discuss this Article

anon926434
Post 9

Gluten is a major culprit! Taking out a part of the body that is malfunctioning is insane!

anon256224
Post 8

I recently was admitted to hospital as an emergency case and was diagnosed as having a perforated bowl. I was operated on. Following the surgery, the doctors told me that they had cleaned out the cavity and treated the infection but did not have to make a repair to the bowel itself.

I also have diverticular disease and they found a site of one of these was inflamed and believe it was the cause of the perforation but it had already healed on its own. My worry now is that the tear that occurred may still be weak and could again tear.

I would have preferred to have been told that they found the problem and had repaired it. Am I at a greater risk of a recurrence with a naturally healed tear?

anon159401
Post 7

What is the likelihood of survival rate for a perforated bowel?

anon149853
Post 6

my mom had ovarian cancer. she ended up with a perforated bowel after the doctor reversed her colostomy and it was not repaired until my mom was sent home from the hospital, only to return to the hospital after one month to have emergency surgery and a 5 percent chance for survival. Her intestines were mush and she survived for two months. Gross negligence is my opinion.

anon130812
Post 5

My daughter had surgery for endometriosis, and ended up with a perforated bowel. Doctor sent her home saying surgery was good, and all well. After five day's of complaining to Doc of horrible pains, only to be told to take gas x and keep moving, that it was normal and she'll be fine. Well finally a trip to the ER and emergency surgery. Come to find out how close we were to losing her.

alex94
Post 4

@christym: There are actually several things that can lead to a perforated bowel. Things such as Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, traumatic injury and appendicitis are just a few.

In patients with Crohn’s Disease, the risk is great for developing a perforated bowel. The inflammation from Crohn’s Disease spreads through the intestines and can lead to a blockage. A blockage can lead to bowel perforation. These patients have to be monitored regularly to make sure that blockages aren’t present.

christym
Post 3

What exactly causes the bowel to perforate?

chrisinbama
Post 2

@dinoleash: It is very important to recognize the symptoms of perforated bowel as the outcome can be fatal if untreated.

Some of the symptoms related to perforated bowel are nausea, high fever, significant vomiting, and severe abdominal pain that can worsen when you move.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

DinoLeash
Post 1

What are the symptoms of perforated bowel?

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