Yes, it is very serious. I had a perforation with my first (and only) episode of diverticulitis a couple of years ago. I was very lucky as mine was small and it healed with IV antibiotics. I was in the hospital 4 days. I was also put on a low residue (low fiber) diet. I had to have a colonoscopy about 6 weeks later to see what was going on.
Many times perforations do result in emergency colon surgery. If that happens then the hospital stay is longer. Many time the emergency surgery results in a temporary colostomy but it is usually reversed after a few months.
Is this happening with you or someone you know? Was emergency surgery involved? I can help answer questions if I know a little more.
I did end up having colon surgery a couple of months later. The follow-up colonscopy showed that the diverticulosis was extensive. I elected to have the surgery--a colon resection done. I was at increased risk for another perforation and that would probably result in emergency surgery. I was young--only 50 at the time and I didn't want to spend my time worrying about having any more problems.
Hope that helps. I'm willing to answer any questions.
Thanks Maggie. This is for a friend who is on the opposite side of the country right now. She had to have surgery and I guess that went well. But from what I've heard from my friends who are there with her is that she's not doing that good. She developed an infection when her bowel was punctured and that's where things are at right now - trying to get rid of the infection and get her labs in order.
Are the bowels that easy to puncture? Without getting into things too much, she self harms and stuck a needle into her abdomen and that's how her bowel was punctured. It just seems like the bowels would be harder to penetrate, but then again what do I know... Thanks for your help - it's hard to be so far away with all of this going on right now.
Yes, the infection that results from a bowel perforation is very, very serious. Recovering from the infection and the surgery takes a lot out of you. One really has to have the right attitude of wanting to get well. It does sound like she has great friends who are there to support her. I would imagine that she is under psychiatric care also.
I imagine your friend just happened to hit the right spot in the bowel and had a long enough and thick enough needle. Any kind of small hole can cause the leakage of fecal matter setting the stage of massive infection.
I am sorry that this is happening to your friend. Please continue to ask any questions or just update me.