What is an intestinal fistula?


Quick Answer

Gastrointestinal fistulas are abnormal openings in the stomach or intestines that enable gastric contents to leak, explains Healthline. Often a result of surgery, they may also be due to blockage in the gastrointestinal tract, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, radiation to the abdomen and deep injury wounds, explains MedlinePlus.

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Full Answer

While many fistulas bear no side effects, others may cause diarrhea, malabsorption of nutrients and dehydration, according to MedlinePlus. Treatments include antibiotics, immune suppressing medicines, surgery (when the fistula is not healing) and nutrition through the veins while the opening heals. Some fistulas may heal on their own within a few weeks or months, states Healthline.

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