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There are several diseases, such as colitis, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome that affect the small intestine. Moreover, any perforation in the bowel will leak contents into the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis, or the bloodstream, most likely leading to sepsis. Most gunshot victims die from bacteria released by the perforated bowel rather than from any trauma caused by the wound.
The bowel can also suffer blockage, which can be life threatening. Luckily, a large portion of the bowel can be removed and the remaining ends sutured together with very little effect on the patient.