Encyclopedia Home / G / Gastrointestinal fistula

Gastrointestinal fistula

  • Alternative Names

    Entero-enteral fistula; Enterocutaneous fistula; Fistula - gastrointestinal


    Treatment

    Some fistulas close on their own after a few weeks to months. Depending on the situation, some people may need to receive nutrition through a vein while the fistula heals.

    In some cases where the fistula is not healing, surgery is necessary to remove the fistula and part of the intestines.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    How well a patient does depends on their overall health and the cause and severity of the fistula. In otherwise healthy people, the outlook is excellent.


    Complications

    Fistulas may result in malnutrition and dehydration, depending on their location in the intestine. They may also be a source of skin problems and infection.


    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you have a significant change in bowel habits, especially severe diarrhea. Also call if you have any leakage of fluid from an opening on the abdomen or near the anus, especially if you have recently had abdominal surgery.