Gastrointestinal Fistula Gastrointestinal Fistula – Everything You need to know


Gastrointestinal Fistula – Everything You need to know


Gastrointestinal Fistula (GIF) can be described as an opening that is abnormal within your stomach or intestines, which allows gastric fluid to leak through the stomach’s lining or the intestines. This can lead to infection as the fluids leak into the skin or organs.

It is most often the case following abdominal surgery or patients with chronic digestive problems. The leaks from one area of the gastrointestinal tract the other are referred to as entero-enteral fistulas. The ones that are connected by between the GI tract and the surface are referred as entero-cutaneous fistulas.

A fistula can be described as an abnormal connecting of two spaces, such as intestines, blood vessels or any various hollow organs. Fistulas typically result from injuries or surgeries, however they may also be caused by an inflammation or infection.

What are the different kinds of fistulas gastrointestinal?

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. This is a serious medical condition and requires long-term medical attention. There are four major kinds of GIF:

Intestinal fistula

In this kind of fistula gastric fluids spill out of one region of the intestine and flow to another at the point where the folds are joined. It is also known as gut-to-gut fistula.

Extra-intestinal fistula

The fistula type is when gastric fluid leaks through the intestines to other organs, such as the lung, bladder, or the the vascular system.

External fistula

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

Complex fistula

It is a fistula that is found in multiple organs.

Diagnostics of Gastrointestinal Fistula

To identify gastrointestinal fistula doctors will run the tests listed below:

  • The blood tests will be used to determine the level of electrolytes in the blood and the nutritional condition.
  • Upper and lower endoscopy With this test doctors can detect any issues or anomalies within the digestive tract using an endoscope.
  • Lower and upper intestinal Xrays for this test the patient must take a drink of barium if the fistula is believed to be in the stomach or intestines. To determine the cause of colon fistula the doctor will conduct an operation called barium enema.

The Gastrointestinal Fistula

If someone suffers from GIF digested food matter can’t freely circulate through the body. The symptoms you experience depend on whether or not there is an external or internal fistula. It’s also dependent on the extent to which the patient has developed a complex condition known as sepsis. In this situation it is when the body is attacking itself as a response to an acute infections caused by bacteria. The signs of external fistulas are:

  • Skin discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • White blood cells are growing in number.
  • A painful bowel obstruction
  • Signs of internal fistulas include
  • Diarrhea
  • Infections to the blood stream
  • Dehydration
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Inadequate absorption of nutrients and weight loss
  • The disease is progressively worsening.

Gastrointestinal Fistula

There are a variety of causes for the development of digestive fistula. This includes:

Complications from surgery: According to International Journal of Academic Medicine approximately 85-90 percent from all GIF cases are caused by intra-abdominal procedures. The majority of fistulae develop during the first week after surgery. A follow-up visit and timely diagnosis should be carried out following surgery.

Causes that are spontaneous: In some instances, Gastrointestinal Fistula occurs without having a cause known to us. This is referred to as a spontaneous development.

Trauma: Physical injury such as knife or gun wounds that enter the abdomen can cause GIF to form.

The treatment for gastro-intestinal Fistula

The treatment for gastrointestinal fistula is dependent on the severity of the condition and its location. The correct treatment may take weeks , or even months to treat the problem. Your physician will evaluate your fistula carefully to determine whether it is likely to close by itself. Fistulas that are small and not infected tend to close without treatment. Fistulae that are located in the colon require 30 to 40 days to close while those located in the small intestine can take between 40 and 50 days. Treatments include:

Gastrointestinal Fistula surgical treatment If you suffer from sepsis, the Fistula Surgeon in Kolkata will recommend surgery to treat the areas of drainage. Gastrointestinal fistula surgery is typically performed when three to six months of treatment fail to make you feel better. The procedure can be carried out using special drains or devices that use negative pressure, etc. to assist in helping the fistula to be able to drain while healing. This system of negative pressure allows the use of vacuum to eliminate the excess fluid, and also improve circulation to the fistula. In addition, endoscopic techniques could be employed to fix or seal the leaky parts in the fistula.

Medicines: If there food particles in the stomach, there is an additional release of gastric juices, which can hinder the patient from receiving adequate nutrients. In addition to surgeries, drugs and nutrients are administered to aid the body in healing. The nutrients can be administered via intravenous injection or via medications such as scopolamine protein pump inhibitors. Pepcid or the loperamide medication are prescribed to reduce the amount of fluid present in the digestive tract.

Other treatmentoptions could be targeted at replenishing electrolytes in blood, reducing the amount of fluid that flows from fistulas as well as preventing infection. sepsis, restoring acid-base imbalance , and providing continuous treatment for wounds.

Prevention of Gastrointestinal Fistula

Gastrointestinal fistulas can occur through physical injury to the external environment or an underlying medical issue. To stop the onset of gastrointestinal fistulas most effective method is to have regular health checkups and maintaining an active lifestyle and staying away from sedentary living.

The Gastrointestinal Fistula

One of the most serious consequences of the gastrointestinal fistula is sepsis. Sepsis is a condition which the body suffers an negative reaction to bacteria, which can cause lower blood pressure, organ malfunctions in the internal and, in extreme cases, even death.


Gastrointestinal fistulas may turn out to be severe and can be resolved in patients that are in good physical health. They also release smaller quantities of gastric fluid. However, sometimes it requires treatment and can require a long time to improve. Alongside early diagnosis, early treatment and nutritional support can be crucial in reducing the chance of death from the gastrointestinal fistula.


How severe is fistulas?

The extent of the fistula’s ailment can be determined by degree of discomfort, pain and the place it forms. The most effective way to gauge the extent of any fistula is to have it examined by a the best Fistula doctor in Kolkata.

What will happen if a fistula not treated?

Most fistulas are able to heal by themselves without treatment. If, however, symptoms are getting worse and the discomfort is increasing or worsens, then consult medical professionals.

Is fistula surgery urgent?

It is based on the severity of the fistula and the presence of any symptoms that can cause death.

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By aamritri

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