Gastrointestinal Fistula: Everything you must know

Gastrointestinal Fistula: Everything you must know


Gastrointestinal Fistula (GIF) refers to an opening that is abnormal in the stomach or intestines that allows gastric fluid to leak through the stomach’s lining or your intestines. It could cause infections when these fluids get into your skin or into other organs.

It is most often the case after abdominal surgery, or in patients with chronic digestive issues. The leaks that occur from one region of the digestive tract to another are referred to as entero-enteral fistulas. The ones that are connected by to the GI tract with the skin is referred to as entero-cutaneous fistulas.

A fistula is a faulty connecting of two spaces, such as intestines, blood vessels or any other organs that are hollow. Fistulas typically result from surgical or injury, but they can also arise from an inflammation or infection.

What are the different kinds of fistulas in the gastrointestinal tract?

The fistula develops by an abnormal connection that develops between the digestive tract as well as the skin or other organ. The result is the release in stomach acid. The medical condition is serious and requires ongoing treatment. There are four kinds of GIF:

Intestinal fistula

In this kind of fistula gastric fluids spill out from one area of the intestine and flow to another in the area where the folds meet. This is also known as gut-to gut fistula.

Extra-intestinal fistula

This kind of fistula occurs when gastric fluid escapes through the intestines to other organs like the lung, bladder or the the vascular system.

External fistula

In this kind of situation gastric fluid, it leaks through the skin. This is also referred to as the cutaneous fistula. The fistula will open up an part of the skin, and acid may be harmful to the skin.

Complex fistula

It is a fistula that is found in multiple organs.

The diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Fistula

To determine if gastrointestinal fistula is present, the Fistula doctor in Kolkata will conduct the tests below:

  • The blood tests be used to determine the level of electrolytes in the blood and the nutritional condition.
  • Lower and upper endoscopy With this test the doctor can detect any problems or abnormalities within the digestive tract using an endoscope.
  • The lower and the upper intestines X-rays for this test the patient has to take a drink of barium if the fistula is believed to be in the stomach or intestines. To identify a colon fistula the Fistula Specialist doctor will carry out the procedure called barium enema.

The Gastrointestinal Fistula

When someone has GIF the digested food particles is unable to freely move throughout the body. The severity of your symptoms will be different depending on whether or not there is an external or internal fistula. It is also dependent on whether you have developed a complex condition known as sepsis. In this case the body of the patient is attacking itself as a reaction to a severe bacteria.

The signs of external fistulas are:

  • Skin discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • White blood cells are growing in number.
  • Bowel obstruction that is painful

The symptoms of internal fistulas are

  • Diarrhea
  • Infections to the blood stream
  • Dehydration
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Lack of absorption of nutrients, and weight loss
  • A worsening of the disease

Gastrointestinal Fistula

There are many different causes for the development of digestive fistula. They include:

The complications of surgery: According to the International Journal of Academic Medicine around 85-90% in all GIF cases occur after abdominal procedures. The majority of fistulae occur within the first week following surgery. Additionally, a follow-up as well as a timely diagnsis should be carried out following surgery.

Causes that are spontaneous: In some instances, Gastrointestinal Fistula occurs without any known cause. This is referred to as a spontaneous occurrence.
Trauma: Physical injuries like knife or gun wounds that penetrate the abdomen, could trigger GIF to form.

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