Diverticulitis: Symptoms and Treatments

Diverticulitis: Symptoms and TreatmentsWhen pouches form in the wall of the colon and become inflamed or infected, it is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a very painful condition that in serious cases can require surgery.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticula in the colon (diverticulosis). Diverticulitis happens when feces get trapped in the pouches (diverticula), allowing bacteria to grow and can lead to inflammation or infection.

Signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Pain, which may be constant and persist for several days. Pain is usually felt in the lower left side of the abdomen, but may occur on the right, especially in people of Asian descent.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Constipation or, less commonly, diarrhea

Several factors may increase the risk of developing diverticulitis:

  • Aging – The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age.
  • Obesity – Being seriously overweight increases the odds of developing diverticulitis. Morbid obesity may increase your risk of needing more-invasive treatments for diverticulitis.
  • Smoking – People who smoke cigarettes are more likely than nonsmokers to experience diverticulitis.
  • Lack of exercise – Vigorous exercise appears to lower the risk of diverticulitis. * High-fat, low-fiber diet – Although the role of low fiber alone isn’t clear.
  • Certain medications – Several drugs are associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis, including steroids, opiates, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed during an acute attack. Treatment depends on the severity of signs and symptoms.

If symptoms are mild, your doctor is likely to recommend:

  • Antibiotics
  • A liquid diet for a few days while you heal
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen

If you have a severe attack or have other health problems, treatment generally involves:

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Insertion of a tube to drain an abscess, if one has formed

You may need surgery to treat diverticulitis if:

  • You have a complication, such as perforation, abscess, fistula, or bowel obstruction
  • You have had multiple episodes of uncomplicated diverticulitis
  • You are immune compromised

If you are experiencing symptoms of diverticulitis or have already been diagnosed with it, contact Dr. Johnson for an appointment. He can advise you of treatment options for your case. Read more online at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diverticulitis/basics/definition/con-20033495

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