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Diverticulitis is a term used to describe the formation of small bulges, sacs or pouches in the inner lining of the small intestine or colon. Usually, these abnormalities occur following chronic constipation and a highly decreased number of bowel movements over time. When the pieces of feces become lodged inside the intestine, these feces cause inflammation and pouches. The condition is associated with long term consequence of unhealthy patterns, including:   

  • Processed foods such as pretzels, crackers, breakfast cereals and the like contribute to diverticulitis.
  • Low fiber diet over the long term.  
  • Infrequent bowel movements, often resulting in significant abdominal discomfort.  

Symptoms of Diverticulitis

The symptoms of diverticulitis may last for a few hours to a week or more. The symptoms may include:

  • Severe pain in the lower\ left side of the belly.
  • Fever may occur and the person may experience chills.
  • Bloating of the abdomen.
  • Gas is passed frequently.
  • Digestive irregularities of the two extremes may occur; either diarrhea or severe constipation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Bleeding of the rectum (back passage) may also occur.

Your Physician Consultation

Your physician will conduct a comprehensive examination and will evaluate the possibility of other intestinal disorders as well. One or more of the following tests may be performed. Visit Q and A for Your Doctor

  • Blood tests to check the Complete blood count (CBC).
  • X-rays and CT Scans to have a clearer image of the inflammation.

A complete diagnostic evaluation may have to be performed, including what is  called a differential diagnosis to help rule out similar disorders, such as colon cancer, ischemic colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Thus, your physician may order one or more of the following tests.

  • Colonoscopy to obtain enhanced images of the internal disturbance.
  • Barium enema X-rays is another imaging technique.

Conditions that May be Result from Diverticulitis

Abscess is a pus filled cavity that forms in the colon as a result of diverticulitis. This is a complicated state of affairs and syringe needles are used to drain the pus out.

Fistulas that are hometowns to the invading bacteria may form as a result of the various infections caused by the diverticulitis.

Intestinal obstruction may occur.

Diverticulitis Treatment

The nature of the treatment depends upon the extent of the problem. One may be advised to transition into liquid nutrition and may return to solid foods only when the doctor advises it. The following steps are involved in the treatment

–          Antibiotics

·         Hot pad massage on the abdomen.

·         Acetaminophen

·         When the diverticulas grow bigger in size, they have to be removed via surgery.

The Outcome of Diverticulitis

The vast majority of the time, the correct antibiotics may completely treat diverticulitis. A long-term fiber rich diet may prevent the disease altogether. Roughly 20% of the people with diverticulitis have surgery, commonly segmental resection. This surgery offers the opportunity for full recovery and no loss of function of the bowel.

Next Visit, Q and A for Your Doctor

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.