A perforation is a hole.
Your digestive tract is the group of hollow organs that food passes through when you swallow and digest it. These organs are part of the digestive tract:
The Digestive System
What is a perforation of the digestive tract?
A perforation of the digestive tract is a hole in any of the organs in your digestive tract.
Injuries, certain diseases, or swallowing certain things can make a hole in your digestive tract
Food, digestive juices, or waste leak out of the hole into your chest or belly and make you very sick
You’ll have sudden, severe pain in your chest or belly
Doctors do x-rays X-Rays An x-ray is an imaging test that takes a picture of the inside of your body. It uses a low dose of x-ray radiation. X-rays show body parts according to how dense (solid) they are. Doctors usually... read more and sometimes a CT (computed tomography) scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more
A perforation is a medical emergency, and you'll need surgery right away
Without treatment, you might die
What causes a perforation of the digestive tract?
Causes of a perforation depend on where in the digestive tract the hole is. Causes include:
Injury, such as from being stabbed, shot, or injured in a car crash
Swallowing a chemical, such as acid, that eats a hole in your esophagus or stomach
Throwing up really hard
Certain diseases, such as diverticulitis Diverticulitis Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a large intestine and a small intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your... read more , peptic ulcer disease Peptic Ulcer Disease Your stomach makes a lot of acid, which helps digest food. Normally, the lining of your stomach and intestines has defenses against the acid. If something interferes with those defenses, the... read more , blocked intestines Intestinal Obstruction You have a small intestine and a large intestine. The small intestine is a long coiled tube that connects your stomach to your large intestine. The large intestine is shorter but wider and leads... read more , Crohn disease Crohn Disease Your digestive tract is the path that food takes through your body after you eat it. Food goes from your mouth (eating) to your anus (passing stool). Your intestine is the long tube in your... read more , and ulcerative colitis Ulcerative Colitis Your digestive tract is the path that food takes through your body after you eat it. Food goes from your mouth (eating) to your anus (passing stool). Your intestine is the long tube in your... read more
What are the symptoms of a perforated digestive tract?
Symptoms of a perforation of the digestive tract include:
Sudden, severe pain in your belly or chest
A belly that is tender and firm when touched
Feeling sick to your stomach
How can doctors tell if my digestive tract has a perforation?
Doctors will do:
How do doctors treat a perforation of the digestive tract?
Doctors treat a perforation of the digestive tract using:
Immediate surgery to close the hole and stop fluid and intestinal contents from leaking out
Fluids and antibiotics given through your vein (IV)