Perforated bowel: This is a break, or hole, in the wall of the large intestine (bowel). A perforated bowel is a surgical emergency that requires urgent treatment, because with a perforation, the contents of the bowel can spill into the abdominal cavity. This can cause life-threatening infection of the abdominal cavity. There are many causes of a perforated bowel, including infection, inflammatory bowel disease, cancers, trauma, diverticulitis, and ischemic colitis. Ruptured bowel is another term to describe perforated bowel.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.