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Colonoscopy Symptoms of a Perforated Colon

author image Esther Kinuthia RN BSN BA
Esther Kinuthia is a registered nurse with extensive experience in health and wellness. She holds a B.S. in nursing, B.A in psychology and has worked for more than ten years in the health-care field. She enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics for the Internet. Her work has been published in various websites.
Colonoscopy Symptoms of a Perforated Colon
A woman is holding her stomach, laying down. Photo Credit: thodonal/iStock/Getty Images

Colonoscopy is a test that enables the inspection of the entire colon using a fiberoptic tube known as colonoscope. A colonoscopy is used to detect abnormalities in the colon such as colon cancer and inflammation. Colon perforation occurs when the colonoscope punctures the wall of the colon during a colonoscopy. states that risk of colon perforation is increased in patients with existing colon abnormalities. Patients should be aware of symptoms of colon perforation

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The National Institutes of Health states that bleeding from colon perforation may occur immediately after a colonoscopy or even several days later. Patients may notice bright red blood in the stool or notice blood trickling down the anus as they defecate. Patients may also experience severe weakness and dizziness upon standing. Patients should contact the doctor immediately when they notice signs of bleeding in the colon. They may require surgery to fix the colon perforation. Patients who have lost massive amounts of blood may require blood transfusions.


Perforation of the colon results in a hole in the bowel that allows bowel contents to enter the bloodstream and circulate to the rest of the body, resulting in a blood infection known as sepsis. Patients with sepsis due to colon perforation may experience fever, chills, shaking, confusion, rapid pulse and delirium. Sepsis is a serious illness that requires hospitalization in the intensive care unit.

Secondary Peritonitis

According to the National Institutes of Health, a perforated colon may result in a condition known as secondary peritonitis. Secondary peritonitis is the inflammation of the peritoneum, which are tissues that cover the colon and other abdominal organs. Peritonitis occurs when bacteria enter the peritoneum through the hole in colon. Signs and symptoms of peritonitis include fever, shaking chills, abdominal tenderness and a firm board-like abdomen.

Abdominal Pain and Distension

According to the National Institutes of Health, patients with colon perforation may experience severe abdominal pain at the site of colon puncture. The abdominal pain may be aggravated by bending or lifting heavy objects. Abdominal distension may be caused by the pooling of blood in the colon and the surrounding regions due to colon perforation.

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