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Perforated Bowel


A perforated bowel happens when a medical condition, such as diverticulitis, causes a hole or tear in your bowel. An injury or blockage may also perforate your bowel. Bowel contents can leak into your abdomen through the hole. This may cause a life-threatening infection.



  • Antibiotics may be given to treat a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your gastroenterologist or surgeon as directed:

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

Eat fiber:

Eat high-fiber foods, including beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads, as directed. Fiber will help you have regular bowel movements. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to be on a special diet.

Drink liquids as directed:

Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids are important to help you have regular bowel movements.

Exercise as directed:

Exercise helps keep your bowels working as they should. Never start an exercise without talking to your healthcare provider first.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your bowel movements are less frequent than your healthcare provider says is safe.
  • You suddenly lose your appetite.
  • Your abdomen feels bloated.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have frequent episodes of nausea and vomiting.

Further information

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

Learn more about Perforated Bowel (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes