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Gastrointestinal Fistula

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a 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.

What causes or increases my risk for a GI fistula?

What are the signs and symptoms of a GI fistula?

The signs and symptoms of a GI fistula depend on where it is located. You may not have any symptoms, or you may have any of the following:

How is a GI fistula diagnosed?

How is a GI fistula treated or managed?

Treatment depends on the cause of your fistula, and the type of fistula you have. You may need treatment for a medical condition that caused your fistula. Some fistulas may close on their own. You may need any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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