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Gastrointestinal Fistula


A gastrointestinal (GI) fistula is an abnormal opening in your stomach or intestines. Fluids from your stomach and intestines leak into other parts of your body through the opening. They can leak into other organs or through your skin to the outside of your body. A GI fistula can lead to infections, malnutrition (not enough calories or nutrients), or dehydration.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe vomiting or diarrhea.
  • You have heavy bleeding from your rectum.
  • Your abdomen is larger than usual and very painful.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You develop any new symptoms.
  • You have a fever.
  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You notice a change in your bowel movements.
  • You feel depressed, confused, tired, irritable, and you do not feel like eating.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care for your open wound as directed:

You may need to keep a bandage over your wound to protect the skin from more damage. You may also need to clean your wound. Ask your healthcare provider how to clean your wound, and when and how to change your bandages.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.