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Clinical Observation
January 1999

Perforation of the Sigmoid Colon Due to Geophagia

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Surg. 1999;134(1):88-89. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.1.88

Geophagia, the habit of eating earth, soil, or clay, is common among African women and frequently encountered during pregnancy. The condition is relatively benign; grave surgical complications are infrequently observed. We describe an adult, nonpregnant, African woman with sigmoid colon perforation and fatal peritonitis due to geophagia. Geophagia is a rare cause of colonic perforation and peritonitis and a high degree of suspicion must be employed to identify this disorder.