What Can Cause a Perforated Bowel?

Bowel perforation can have multiple causes, ranging from various injuries to the abdomen, aspirin consumption and appendicitis, diverticulitis, ulcer, gallstones or inflammatory bowel diseases. Surgical injuries during colonoscopy or endoscopy also cause perforation in rare cases, as stated by Healthline.

A bowel perforation consists of a hole that runs all the way through the bowel or large intestine. The danger is that perforation can cause peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane lining the entire abdominal cavity. If acid from the stomach, bile or bacteria enters the cavity, then peritonitis can take place -- a life-threatening condition. Bowel perforation requires emergency medical care, and recovery is possible with swift treatment, notes Healthline.

Some signs of bowel perforation include nausea, fever, chills, vomiting and severe pain in the abdomen. If peritonitis has set in as well, the abdomen can feel tender, and it may protrude further out than it normally does, and it may also feel hard to the touch. Doctors run X-rays of the abdomen and chest to test for air gathering in the abdominal cavity, and they may run a CT scan to find the site of the perforation. In the majority of cases, surgery is required to close the perforation and treat any associated conditions, according to Healthline.