What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis tends to occur when diverticula in the digestive tract get infected or inflamed. Basically, diverticula are tiny, bulging pouches which can develop anywhere in the digestive system, such as small intestine, esophagus and stomach. Though, they are mostly found in large intestine. The condition is quite common particularly after 40 years of age. When a person has diverticula, such condition is called diverticulosis. Such pouches are hardly ever noticed since they rarely cause problems, for example diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis causes severe pain, nausea, abdominal pain and a noticeable bowel habits change. Proper rest, antibiotics and changes in diet can treat mild diverticulitis cases. However serious cases require surgery.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Symptoms of the condition include:
- Severe and sudden pain in the left abdomen side (lower).
- Noticeable change in the bowel habits.
- Abdominal tenderness.
- Vomiting and nausea.
What causes diverticulitis?
It develops when tiny amount of feces get trapped in the pouches, which have developed along the large intestine wall. Such allows the bacteria to easily grow causing inflammation or infection and pressure which can cause a small tear or perforation in the intestine wall. Peritonitis, the infection of abdominal wall lining, can develop if it spills into your abdominal cavity.
What are the risk factors?
Certain factors tend to increase the chances to develop diverticulitis:
- Growing age.
- Too little fiber in the diet.
- Lack of exercise.
How is diverticulitis diagnosed?
In case the doctor suspects diverticulitis, he can perform a physical exam whilst review your medical history. Depending on the signs, the doctor can suggest certain tests to determine other medical conditions causing the symptoms.
- Complete blood count. (CBC).
- Abdominal x-ray.
- Digital rectal exam.
Moreover, depending on the symptoms, the doctor can suggest one or more of the following test/tests:
- CT scan
- Barium enema X-ray.
- Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
How is diverticulitis treated?
Generally, the treatment completely depends on your symptom’s severity. In case the symptoms are slight, antibiotics and a diet low in fiber is all what you need. However, in case the symptoms signals severe complications or you are experiencing repeated diverticulitis attacks, then indeed you need advanced care.
In case of developing complication, for example abscess, the patient may then need to get hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics. Abscess needs to get drained, thus draining can be done through inserting the needle in your skin, guided by CT or ultrasound. Then, a catheter is placed for draining abscess.
In case of having abscess, recurring diverticulitis, fistula or perforation, the doctor can suggest surgery for removing the colon’s diseased part. There are 2 kinds of surgeries for the purpose:
- Primary bowel resection.
- Bowel resection.
Few things that can help prevent/slow diverticula disease progressions are:
- Eat diet enriched with fiber.
- Drink excessive fluids.
- Exercise regularly.
By : Natural Health News