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Perforated Bowel Recovery

Perforated bowel recovery can be sped up with proper care, rest, and appropriate medications. Being life-threatening in nature, it is essential to identify the symptoms and administer prompt treatment.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
A perforation is a puncture or a hole through which the contents of a body cavity may spill out. Imagine what would happen if you have a perforation in any of the organs in your body. What would be the consequences of having a perforated organ? The only consequence that doctors have reported is fatality, in the absence of proper treatment. Organs like stomach, liver, bowels (or colon), etc., can become perforated. A severe blow or traumatic injury can lead to the organ becoming perforated and may harm the entire body system. A perforation in the bowel can result from the fact that it has been affected due to some bowel problems, or has suffered a traumatic blow. This article is highlighted at perforated bowel recovery.

An Overview

As mentioned earlier, a perforation in the bowel is a condition where there is a gap or puncture in the wall of the bowel. It can arise as a tiny hole, which may develop as time passes by. It can also affect the stomach, small intestine, and the gallbladder, leading to a condition called gastrointestinal perforation, which has a number of risks associated with it. It is considered to be a medical emergency, requiring medical intervention as soon as possible to avoid further unnecessary complications.

A person is said to be suffering from this condition when the large intestine leaks its contents into the abdominal cavity through a hole. This can result in peritonitis, which is the inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach due to the pouring of the contents and acids. This inflammation can be quite severe and also cause frequent blood infections, also known as sepsis and needs to be treated immediately. Some of the causes of this condition are as follows:
  • Abdominal injury or trauma
  • Appendicitis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Gallbladder infection or gallstones
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Ulcerative colitis
Noticing and treating the symptoms of this condition at the earliest can speed up the recovery process. The symptoms of this condition, observing which the severity of the disorder can be determined, are given as under:
  • Severe abdominal pain, radiating towards the back and upper legs. This can be followed by a feeling of numbness.
  • A feeling of fullness or bloating sensation due to a distended abdomen.
  • The abdomen may feel soft to touch because of a swollen stomach.
  • Changes in the bowel movements, like persistent diarrhea or constipation.
  • High grade fever (102ºF and above), accompanied by chills and nausea induced vomiting
Treatment and Recovery

In severe cases where drug therapy doesn't provide the desired results, doctors may suggest surgery for the treatment of intestinal perforation. The doctor may prescribe pain killers to ease the pain caused due to this life-threatening disorder. Meanwhile, a few diagnostic tests, like blood tests, abdominal X-rays, MRI, and CT scans of the abdomen for closer observation, and a physical exam of the patient may be conducted. Once the tests are over, the patient is administered anesthesia for the surgery. The surgeon may empty the contents from the abdominal cavity and repair the perforation in the colon. In some cases, a colostomy (or ileostomy), where the affected part of the bowel is removed surgically and the healthy ends are sewn back together. The duration of the surgery may depend upon the intensity of the perforation of the intestine. The prognosis of the surgery is usually positive.

The recovery time may vary from individual to individual and depend on the age of the person and the severity of the disorder. However, on an average, it can take up to 7 to 8 weeks for a complete recovery, which may include proper bed rest, appropriate food, and prescribed medications. The doctor may also advise the patient to keep away from heavy or strenuous work during the recovery phase. A specific diverticulitis diet plan may have to be followed by the patient who has undergone surgery for a perforated colon. This diet mainly consists of foods that are light on the stomach and are digested quickly without causing too much strain. The diet may include clear soups, broth, fruit juices, and tea or coffee without milk. Once the person begins to feel normal, his diet may include white rice, white bread, well cooked vegetables sans skin and seeds, low fiber foods, eggs, plain pasta and milk, etc.

Overlooking this condition can be life-threatening and can have a serious repercussion on a person's health. Hence this condition requires immediate medical intervention. Stay healthy!

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.