Gastrointestinal perforation: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Prevention measures

Feb 13, 2023 by Adhip

Gastrointestinal perforation is a serious medical condition that occurs from the creation of a hole in the stomach, large intestine, or small intestine. Common causes include appendicitis and diverticulitis. Traumatic events like knife wounds or gunshot wounds may cause perforations. The gallbladder also has the potential to develop a perforation with symptoms similar to those of gastrointestinal perforation.

Peritonitis, which is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, can be caused by a hole in either your gastrointestinal system or gallbladder.

Abdominal wall hernias may happen when bacteria, bile, stomach acid, partially digested food, or stool enter the abdominal cavity.

GP is a medical emergency that calls for prompt attention & treatment. It’s essential to get checked out if you experience any symptoms, as delays in diagnosis & treatment can be very dangerous. Seeking medical advice early can help protect your health & well-being. Perforation of the intestines or intestinal perforation is another name given to this dire condition. Early diagnosis and timely treatment drastically increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal perforation?

People with gastroenteritis may experience some of the following symptoms: abdominal pains, shivers, a feverish feeling, nausea, and vomiting.

If one has suffered from an intestinal perforation, the abdomen will be highly sensitive to touch and movement. Even the slightest movement can cause intense pain, whereas lying still can provide some relief. The area may also appear to have an abnormal level of distension and is usually rigid to touch.

Perforation of organs leads to a range of symptoms, including but not limited to fatigue, decreased output of urine/stool/gas, breathlessness, racing heartbeat, and dizziness.

Causes of Gastrointestinal perforation

Gastrointestinal perforation can be caused by a variety of illnesses, such as:

  • Appendicitis is an inflammation of the navel and then moves. is more common among older people, diverticulitis is a digestive disease, and a stomach ulcer can occur.
  • Gallstones, gallbladder infection, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (which is rarer) are some common issues that can affect your digestive health.
  • Meckel’s diverticulum is a type of birth defect in the small intestine, which can cause inflammation and is quite similar to the appendix.
  • Gastrointestinal cancer, which generally refers to cancer of the digestive system, is becoming more frequent. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and interventions available to help reduce its risk and severity.

Smoking and heavy drinking can raise your chances of getting a GP considerably. In rare occurrences, it can be caused by bowel damage through endoscopy or colonoscopy procedures.

Gastrointestinal perforation Diagnosis & Treatments

Your physician will likely do an X-ray of your chest and abdomen to detect the presence of air in your abdominals. They may additionally carry out a CT scan to have a better insight into where the rupture is. Furthermore, they may order laboratory tests to:

  • Observe indicators of infection, such as an elevated number of white blood cells. Examine your hemoglobin level to check if you have suffered any blood loss.
  • Electrolytes must be regularly evaluates to maintain a balance in the body. Similarly, the acid level in the blood should also be analyzed to ensure the healthy functioning of the organs.
  • Checking the functioning of a person’s kidneys and liver is essential for maintaining good health. Therefore, one must regularly evaluate these organs to ensure they’re in top condition.


Surgery often is the only way to remedy a certain medical condition and patch up any existing holes. This kind of operation has three main goals:

  • Correcting the anatomical abnormality is necessary to help tackle peritonitis. This would involve eliminating any foreign objects, such as feces, bile, or food particles, within the abdominal cavity that could be causing issues.

Occasionally, surgery may be unnecessary if the perforation had healed on its own; in such cases, your physician may opt to prescribe antibiotics instead.

Surgical removal of a part of the small or large intestine can lead to the forming of a colostomy or an ileostomy. This procedure helps in emptying intestinal contents into a bag which is then merge to your abdominal wall.


GP or Gastrointestinal Perforation can be due to multiple reasons. Some of these include a prior digestive disorder or an existing health issue. Therefore, it’s important to stay educated on your medical history and conditions that may elevate the risk of perforation.

If you’re feeling unusual or different than your norm, it’s important to talk to a doctor. This is especially crucial if you have any abdominal pain accompanied by a fever.


How successful surgery to repair a perforation is, is hugely by the size of the hole and how soon treated. If treatment begins as soon as possible, there’s more likelihood of a successful outcome.

Modifying your lifestyle to include a few changes can significantly reduce the risk of developing Gastrointestinal perforation. Quit smoking, reduce or cut out alcohol consumption, and limit the use of drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen & steroids.

If you have any symptoms, such as pain or fever, that might require a GP’s attention – do not hesitate to make an appointment right away. Time is of the essence when it comes to health matters; by seeing the doctor early on, your prognosis could improve significantly.

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