A perforated colon is a potentially lethal problem requiring immediate attention in order to repair the damage before it’s too late. While the perforation itself is not lethal, the resulting toxins leaking into the body are quite harmful long-term. Therefore, it is important to recognize symptoms of impaired colon function and seek medical treatment immediately.
How Did This Happen?
There is no one cause for this condition. There are many different ways for a perforated colon to develop, with each adding its own additional potential complications. Trauma is the most common cause. Trauma can occur either by forcing foreign objects into the colon or by consuming an object that subsequently causes damage as it passes through.
A mistake made during a surgical procedure can perforate the colon as well. Similarly, attempting at-home colon cleansings or enemas can inadvertently puncture the colon if they are not performed correctly. For this reason, many people choose to use natural supplements for colon cleansing rather than sticking foreign objects inside their bodies.
A number of illnesses, such as Diverticulitis, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease, can also damage the colon. Each of these illnesses may be prevented by performing a regular colon cleansing and by following a high-fiber diet. The symptoms of each of these conditions can be lessened with routine cleansings. If left unchecked, however, each can lead to a number of related complications.
The Dangers of a Damaged Colon
If a damaged colon is left untreated, it can cause bile and other toxins to leak into the abdominal cavity. These toxins then enter the bloodstream and may affect your other organs, possibly leading to illnesses such as sepsis and peritonitis. Sepsis is a life-threatening disorder causing organs to fail in response to infection.
Peritonitis is an inflammation occurring in response to infection and requiring immediate surgery. Other life threatening disorders may develop as well. For these reasons, it is imperative to get a diagnosis immediately, as the mortality rate in response to a perforated colon leaps up by 33% when diagnosis is delayed.
Diagnosing Colon Perforation
Diagnosis can be difficult because the symptoms are similar to a number of other digestive disorders. In addition, a person already suffering from a digestive disorder may mistake the symptoms of a perforated colon for a particularly bad bout of some other disorder. Therefore, proper diagnosis is often delayed as patients put off seeing the doctor or as doctors take too long considering other causes for the illness.
- Feeling tired or weak
- Experiencing jaundice (a yellowish coloring of the skin)
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen
- A change in bowel habits (becoming constipated, developing diarrhea, or a sudden narrowing of the stool, for example)
- A sense of “fullness” in the bowels that doesn’t go away after having a bowel movement
- Bleeding in the rectum or blood in the stool
- A reduction in appetite
Treatment for Perforated Colon
The methods used to treat this condition depend on how badly it has become perforated as well as the circumstances surrounding the perforation. In probably all cases, surgery will be required to repair the damage. An individual with a perforated colon may also need to be on a ventilator for several days or even weeks. He or she will likely require strong antibiotics to deter infections.
For the first few days following colon surgery, some patients’ situations worsen. Surgery can weaken the body due to toxins remaining in the body. For most patients, it takes maybe three days for this process to occur.
The cause must inevitably be addressed. If it was caused by trauma, this is likely to be a one-time occurrence, such as in the case of consuming foreign objects. However, if a child consumes a foreign object, extra vigilance will need to be exercised to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
If the problem was brought on by an illness, it is imperative the illness be treated to prevent perforation from occurring again. Treatment options for these diseases vary, but may include medication, surgery, radiation treatment, or even chemotherapy. A colon cleansing can also be beneficial, as it will help rid your colon of dangerous toxins and help it return to its normal functioning.
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