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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.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

IV fluids and nutrition:

You will not be able to eat or drink. Fluids and nutrition will be given through your IV.


You will be given antibiotics to treat or prevent a bacterial infection.


X-rays may be done of your stomach and bowels. You may be given a chalky liquid to drink before the pictures are taken. This helps your stomach and bowels show up better on the x-rays.


  • Bowel rest may be used to allow your bowel to heal. You cannot eat or drink during bowel rest, but you will receive nutrition and liquids through an IV. A nasogastric (NG) tube will be placed in your nose and down to your stomach. This tube is used to remove liquids from your stomach to keep your digestive system empty.
  • Surgery may be used to repair the perforation, or remove a diseased part of your bowel. Your healthcare provider may use a scope or open abdominal surgery to repair your bowel.


A perforated bowel could happen again, even with treatment. A bowel perforation could become life-threatening with or without treatment.


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.

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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.

Learn more about Perforated Bowel (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

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