Perforated bowel surgery

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Whilst recovering from emergency bowel surgery this year I was scared and unsure of exactly what would happen next.The first thing I did after wakening up from the surgery was look up perforated bowel to see what exactly that meant and how long the recovery time was and there were not many stories out there. I decided at that point that after fully recovering from the surgery I would post my story including all the messy details for those who find themselves in a similar position.

My name is Connie I'm a 21 year old female from the west of Scotland. On saturday 21st July I had been at a 21st party with my partner Ian and we had come home after several ciders at 11pm, I fell straight to sleep but woke up at 3am because of a stabbing pain across my abdomen. I took some pain killers and decided to asses the pain later on in the morning.

At 7am the pain was getting worse and after phoning nhs24 they feared it could be appendicitis and suggested I head to A+E, which I did soon after. Whilst waiting in A+E the pain was going from extremely sharp to dull every few minutes and I felt frustrated waiting in the middle of the Sunday madness. I was moved into a small room and put into a gown, they took blood tests and urine tests before having me reviewed over the next few hours by three different specialist doctors to try and find out what was causing the pain. The pain by the end of these examinations was now constant and I had requested more pain relief over the last 2 hours, the only option left was to give me morphine.

After giving me morphine I was admitted to a surgical ward at around 5pm, from then it's blurry due to the high doses of morphine and tramadol, I was given iv antibiotics over night and told I would get an abdominal scan on the Monday morning now that they had my pain under control. I remember wakening up during the night upset.

The next morning was Monday and I was taken for a scan straight away then told to fast after breakfast. I slept on and off throughout the day and my mum and Ian visited in the evening. The doctor and surgeon came to speak to us and informed us they would be taking me down for exploratory surgery that night as they believed from the scan that it was appendicitis.

Monday night I was taken down to theatre, I'm told they operated for a total of 3 and a half hours and they found whilst doing the exploratory surgery that part of my bowel had perforated/ruptured and that they had to remove the perforated section, sew my bowel back up and suck up all the poison that had leaked out.

I spent the next week with and extremely swollen stomach and being told continuously how lucky I was to have survived that, and how lucky I was not to have a colostomy bag.

I was told to only drink clear fluids for 48 hours and put onto a drip to keep me hydrated. After those 48 hours I was told to try and eat however nothing stayed down, I found myself being sick instantly after eating and it wasn't until the friday afternoon (4 days post op) that I managed a small amount.

I was allowed to go home to continue my recovery on the Saturday morning as long as I could eat small amounts, which I somehow managed regardless of how sick I felt. The surgeons reviewed me daily during my week stay in hospital and on my last morning they removed me dressings to reveal my surgical wounds (3cm from my belly button downwards, small incisions at bikini line) which were sloughy and leaking and felt my stomach which was softer as the swelling had finally gone down.

I was sent home with a 6-8 week sick line and told I would be sent biopsy results in due course. The only job now was to recover and regain my appetite. I had lost weight during my week stay in hospital going from 9stone 4lbs to 8stone 6lbs and over the first week I concentrated on resting and eating really. The after care instructions for my wounds were simply to keep them clean dry and uncovered at all times and it took roughly 2 weeks 3 days for the slough and leaking to stop.

I'm now 8 weeks post surgery, my wounds look great and I'm a healthy 9 stone in weight, I hope my story helps anyone else in a similar situation to know what's ahead.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi,connie I made this account just to say I had the same thing that happened to me

    My name is Libby,I'm 13 years old and I'm from South Wales UK on the 4th of June I had the most

    unexpected pain it came on Radom (I was 12 years old at the time) I threw my iPad on the floor and was lying on my side (I did have a stoma at the time that prolapsed several times) my mam lifted my top up and my

    Stoma Was out more then it ever have my mam was scared I was scared and we didnt know what to do I got up to my local hospital I actually forgot what happened from there I do know that I went to have surgery and a doctor was phoned when he was in bed to come and do the operation and I woke up 8 week later in Cardiff

    Hospital with a tracheostomy and a stoma on my other side and tube every where they said I tuff little cookie

    So I called my stoma cookie I had a month in intensive care plus the 8 weeks they said I was drug addict with all the morphine I was on and medication when I got better my mam said that they took my large intestine

    Away and I have huge wound on my belly (has gone small now) and that I nearly lost my life and they have

    Said that Crohn's disease was what cause my bowel to rupture I am very great ful that I'm alive and doing


    I hope this enpires you

    Love Libby xx

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  • Posted

    Hi guys, my name is Todd, I have recently also had emergency surgery on a perforated bowel.

    I'm 23 and from the Isle of Wight (the little diamond shaped island under mainland England)

    On the 19th of January this year I traveled to London to play rugby, a short while into the game I landed awkwardly on somebody which caused a sharp pain in my stomach, to which I thought nothing and carried on. After the game my stomach became particularly painful! I traveled from London back to the Isle of Wight, but by the time I had reached home I couldn't stand up through the pain and was vomiting so my parents took me to hospital.

    I was seen quite quickly once I was in hospital, and given a lot of pain relief, the doctors assessing me originally believed that it had appendicitis, one surgeon wasn't so convinced as I had had the trauma to the stomach during the rugby match so he sent me for a CT scan. An hour after the scan was taken the results came back and it turned out I had perforated my small bowel and I was rushed in for emergency surgery less than an hour after the results came back.

    I spent 4 days after that in hospital, with a wound that is 10 inches long running from mid abdomen, down around my belly button and to the top of the pubic area. For the first day or two I wasn't allowed anything to eat or drink, I was then allowed water before finally being allowed to eat small amounts. I took quite well to food and didn't vomit after eating.

    It's been a little over 6 weeks now and I have just returned to rugby training and starting to get my life, slowly, back to normal.

    I hope you guys have both recovered well!


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  • Posted

    I created this account after reading your story to share my story also. I recently went into hospital to have keyhole surgery to remove some scar tissue in my stomach, when coming round was inform the surgery had not gone to plan due to a problem with my heart during the anersetic .During that evening I began to become more and more uncomfortable and in pain, and by the early hours of the next morning was dosed up on a very high dose of a pain killer and sent for a scan. Before I knew it I was being told I needed to go back down for surgery and would more than likely to go to intensive care after. When finally coming to in intensive care I was on a ventilator and had loads of other drugs being pumped into me.I was taken off of the life support the next day and felt awfully unwell, my husband was there and told me during ghe first surgery my bowel had been caught and I had peritonitis and almost died.After a week in ITU I was discharged to a ward and was allowed to each soup, jelly and icecream, I'm now just coming up to 3 weeks post op and am still finding it hard to eat much, everything tastes different the things I used to love I now struggle to eat. After reading your story I feel that maybe this is normal and over time I will find it easier to eat? I'm still currently having my wound dressed every other day as that too needed to have a small cut put in it as I had cellulitis and this is now sloughy and still leaking.
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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    Stumbled upon this thread as im searching for similar stories to mine and especially, stories about post operation experiences.

     Im 24 years old and July 16th, 2015 i had my stomach perforated. It happened very unexpectadley, i was travelling between summer festivals, and just came from UK to Czech Republic to work on one of the festivals. After getting out of the car, i managed to build 4 of 5 big tents that we rent, and suddenly collapsed on the floor, the pain in my abdomen only rising in strength. There was a point where i started physically screaming, even though I am quite pain tolerant person. I managed to find comfortable position on my back, where it did not hurt too much, even though everything else hurt like hell. I stayed whole night in my caravan, hoping the pain would subside, but in the morning it was absolutely the same. I went to the hospital, and after 6 hours of different checks they finally did a CT scan and told me that i will be operated in 2 hours as my stomach got perforated. I spent 1 night in intensive care, and 7 more days in the hospital, 4 days was not given any water or food, and after slowly introduced to it. I was signed off the hospital with full dietary plan, and every consecutive doctor i visited prolongued my healing time by a month. So currently i am 9 weeks after OP, feeling good, my weight coming back, have a massive 15cm scar above my belly button, and i just visited a doctor this morning for gastroscopy. She said im healing well, but my stomach is my weak point and ulcers can come back any time, basically meaning, that my diet and extra care for my stomach is a life long thing.. She also said that i shouldnt be ever lifting anything heavyer than 10-20kg, which is very upsetting me, as im a very active person, and also my job is (maybe was..) inlcluding alot of heavy lifting. I wanted to share my story but also ask if anyone who would stumble upon this, and had similar situation, and lives with it for some time now.. how is the exercise levels, and ability to lift weights or even do martial arts? I am very upset about this situation, hoping to be able to continue to do things that i love in my life. Although this perforation showed me that i need to change some key aspects of my life, like my motto "Work hard party harder", it also showed me how tough a human can be, but no one is invincible. Just keep your diets in tact, and do whats good for you people. Appreciate any reply with experiences!



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    • Posted

      hello zigg,

      i also undergone the same situation like you.

      i asked to doctor, that shall i do exercise or what type of exercise can i do and all. but he told that i cant do any heavy exercise i shall do only light exercise of walking. i shall not do running, swimming, gym and martial art and all. but now 6 months over to my surgery and i am feeling very well and i think that i can do some medium exercise. not heavy. but like running, swimming,etc. but before starting it i want to know more and think more on this, that will my decision be right or not,

      if you have started and have been doing exercise so please let me also know.

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  • Posted


    After a week of being ill,woken with sudden pain and diarrhoea 2which stopped after 4/5hrs early sun am, I had abdominal pain lower right hand side not left. Went to gp on the Tuesday given laxatives! After 24 hrs of increased pain and wind that sounded from the Titanic funnels I went back to different gp. I was advised

    no more laxatives and liquid diet and come back Friday am. I

    saw my regular gp who sent me to SAU in hospital.

    Things gathered speed a blog test indicated abnormal liver

    functions, I saw the Jr hso who within minutes went to his next

    boss who agreed spoke to consultant and emergency cat scan.

    This showed pus and a hole in my bowel. Diverticular had ruptured. Apparently right sided pain isn't often thought as diverticulitis.

    I was advised emergency surgery possible stoma. I was given option of less evasive plan, go in with camera and if too much poo cut me open and stoma.

    Luckily as I had not eaten all week my pus/sepsis drained and as not a lot of stools no stoma.

    iv antibiotics,drain and five days in hospital. I'm on a soft diet build it up and oral double antibiotics.

    I see surgeon in 4/6 weeks and have been advised possible keyhole surgery to remove diseased section of colon without a


    I'm very tired still and now have unwelcome thrush infection! I'm scared re this happening again.

    Anyone had their colon section removed keyhole?

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  • Posted

    Hi I went through surgery 3 months ago to remove Gaul stone from liver duct simple procedure however ended up with sepsis and a perforated bowel, I was rushed back into surgery,same night Xmas eve My life was saved but ended up with. t drain, then due to abscesses had a Yates drain fitted to remove poison. I was in hospital for 7 weeks the drains have been removed last 4 weeks, T drain removal was barbaric, however I am still in pain, can't walk to far, have little energy no one tells you a lot about what the recovery will consist off, I am waiting C scan 11/4 to check all is repairing internally. It's frightening I managed to stop taking strong painkillers as they were awful, I now take paracetamol & ibruprofen don't stop pain. Been told 6-12 months for full recovery. How have you and others found recovery ? Appreciate your responses  thanks Wendy
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  • Posted

    Hi Connie

    Glad you recovered. After a week of abdominal pain and right

    groin and temperature,a visit to a gp who gave me laxatives! The

    pain unbelievable and trapped wind. I went back 24 hrs later diff

    Dr advised liquid diet,no laxatives and come back Friday. I tried

    to walk off pain with dog but paracetamol needed every 4 hrs. On

    Friday I went back my gp sent me to SAU immediately. I had blood tests showed abnormal Liver levels. Within 40 minutes I'd

    been seen by Jr hso who brought his boss who agreed emergency cat scan. I waited an hr for scan given iv fluids in between. I

    was amazed and scared to hear a perforated colon,hole,abscess

    and sepsis. I was advised surgery that night it might end up with a stoma. I went for less evasive keyhole look and if no stools in

    abdomen no stoma.

    I'm lucky no floating stools, washed out bowel,repaired hole and given a drain and catheter. I stayed on iv antibiotics for 3 days. I

    then had a week of double oral antibiotics. I went onto a soft

    diet. I'm three weeks on washed out and tired certain foods make my tummy feel bloaty and painful. I'm so glad I didn't have a stoma.I may still have elective surgery for removal of diseased colon section.

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  • Posted

    Hi Connie! I'm 25 years old and went in to have my 3rd child and after was scheduled to have my tubes tied. When I woke up from my surgery I was pretty out of it and was put into mommy and me to be with my baby. Later that night I had extreme pains in my Stomach and told the nurses but they told me it was just gas and that I needed to walk around the next day they sent me home and I was still in horrible pain. Within the next 2 days it just got worse and worse and now my heart rate was really high so I called the doctor and they had me go to the hospital. What ended up happening is the surgeon poked a hole in my large intestine and I was filled with all my feces. I had the same surgery as you and ended up having to have a colostomy bag. I'm 7 weeks out from my surgery and still experience pains in my stomach do you have pain ever? I go the first week of April to have my colostomy reversed hoping everything will go back to normal

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