Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of your digestive system.
They are found most often in the lower part of the large intestine (colon).
Diverticula are common, especially after age 40, and seldom cause problems.
The presence of diverticula is referred to as diverticulosis (die-vur-tik-yoo-LOE-sis).
If one or more of the pouches become inflamed, and in some cases infected, this condition is known as diverticulitis (die-vur-tik-yoo-LIE-tis).
Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and a marked change in your bowel habits.
Mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest or you can make changes in your diet and antibiotics. Severe or recurring diverticulitis may require surgery.
Symptoms of diverticulitis:
Top Signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Pain, which may be constant and persist for many days.
The lower left side of the stomach is the usual site of this pain.
At times, but the ideal side of the stomach is more debilitating, especially in people of Asian descent.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Abdominal tenderness.
- Constipation or, less commonly, diarrhea.
Get medical attention anytime you’ve got constant, unexplained abdominal pain, especially if you also have a fever and diarrhea or constipation.
Causes of diverticulitis:
Diverticula generally develop when naturally weak areas in your colon give way under stress.
This causes marble-sized pouches to float through the colon wall.
Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula tear, resulting in inflammation, and sometimes infection or disease.
Many factors may also increase your risk of developing or increasing diverticulitis:
- The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age.
- Being severely overweight increases your probability of developing diverticulitis.
- If you compare people who smoke cigarettes are more likely than nonsmokers to experience diverticulitis.
- Lack of exercise. Vigorous exercise appears to lower your risk of diverticulitis.
- Diet low in fiber and high in animal fat. A low-fiber diet together with a high intake of animal fat appears to increase risk, although the role of low fiber alone isn’t apparent.
- Specific medications. Several drugs can also increase your risk of diverticulitis, including steroids, opioids, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Infection
About 1/4 of people with acute diverticulitis develop complications, which may include:
- An abscess, which occurs when the pus accumulates in the pouch.
- Congestion on your bowel brought on by scarring.
- An abnormal passageway (fistula) between segments of the bowel or the gut and other organs.
- Peritonitis, which can occur if the infected or inflamed pouch ruptures, spilling intestinal contents in your abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is a medical emergency and needs immediate attention.
Home remedies to prevent diverticulitis:
- Exercise regularly. Exercise promotes regular bowel functioning and reduces pressure within your colon. Try to use at least 30 minutes most days.
- Eat more fiber. A high-fiber diet decreases the risk of diverticulitis.
Fiber-rich foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains, soften waste material and help it pass faster through your colon.
Eating seeds and nuts is not associated with growing diverticulitis.
- Drink lots of fluids. Fiber works by absorbing water and raising the soft, bulky waste from your colon.
But if you do not drink enough liquid to replace what is consumed, fiber could be constipating.
- Quit or Avoid smoking. Smoking is associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed during an acute attack. Since abdominal pain can signal a number of problems, your doctor will have to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
Your health care provider will begin with a physical examination, which will include checking your abdomen for tenderness.
Women generally have a rectal examination as well to rule out the prostate disorder.
Then, the following tests are likely:
Blood and urine tests, to assess for signs of infection.
A liver enzyme test to rule out out liver-related causes of abdominal pain.
A stool test, to rule out infection in those who have diarrhea.
A CT scan, which may identify inflamed or infected pouches and confirm a diagnosis of diverticulitis.
CT can also indicate the severity of diverticulitis and guide therapy.
Treatment depends upon the severity of your symptoms and signs.
If your symptoms are moderate, you may be treated at home.
Your doctor is likely to recommend:
Compounds to treat infection, although fresh guidelines say that in very mild cases, they might not be needed.
A liquid diet for a couple of days while your bowel heals. Once your symptoms improve, you can slowly add solid food to your diet.
This treatment is successful in most people with uncomplicated diverticulitis.
When you have a serious attack or have other health issues, you’ll probably need to be hospitalized.
Treatment generally involves:
Insertion of a tube to drain an abdominal abscess, if one has formed
You will likely need surgery to treat diverticulitis if:
You have a complication, such as a gut abscess, fistula or obstruction, or even a puncture (perforation) in the gut wall
You’ve had multiple episodes of uncomplicated diverticulitis
There are two main types of surgery:
Main gut resection. The surgeon removes diseased segments of the intestine and then reconnects the wholesome sections (anastomosis).
This permits you to have regular bowel movements.
Depending on the amount of inflammation, you may have open surgery or even a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) process.
Bowel resection with colostomy. If you have so much inflammation which it’s not feasible to rejoin your colon and rectum, the physician will perform a colostomy.
An opening (stoma) on your gut wall is connected to the nutritious portion of the colon.
Waste moves through the opening to your bag. Once the inflammation has eased, the colostomy may be reversed and the gut reconnected
Your doctor may recommend colonoscopy six weeks once you recover from diverticulitis, particularly if you have not had the exam in the preceding year.
There does not appear to be a direct link between diverticular disease and prostate or colon cancer.
But colonoscopy which is risky during a diverticulitis attack can exclude colon cancer as a cause of the symptoms.
After successful treatment, your physician might recommend surgery to prevent future episodes of diverticulitis.
The decision on surgery is an individual one and is frequently based on the frequency of strikes and whether complications have happened.
Some experts assume that individuals who develop diverticulitis might not have enough good bacteria in their colons.
Probiotics supplements or foods which contain beneficial bacteria are sometimes suggested as a means to prevent diverticulitis.
But that advice has not been scientifically validated.
Preparing for your appointment:
You might be referred to a physician who specializes in disorders of the digestive system (gastroenterologist).
What you can do:
Be aware of any pre-appointment limitations, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason you scheduled your appointment.
Make a list of all your medications, supplements, and vitamins.
Write down your key medical information, including other ailments.
Write down crucial personal information, such as any current changes or stressors in your life.
Request a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you recall what the physician says.
Write down questions to ask your doctor:
What’s the most probable reason for my symptoms?
What kinds of tests do I want? Do these tests require any special preparation?
What therapies are available?
Will the diverticulitis return back?
Should I remove or add any foods to my diet?
I have other health ailments. How can I best handle these conditions together?
So, In addition to the questions that you have prepared to ask your doctor, do not be afraid to ask other questions during your consultation.
Things to expect from the doctor:
Your doctor is likely to request a range of queries.
Becoming prepared to answer them can make time to discuss things you want to spend additional time on.
You may be requested:
When did you begin suffering from symptoms, and how severe are they?
Have your symptoms been constant or occasional?
What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
Have you ever had a fever?
What drugs and pain relievers do you take?
Have you had any pain with urination?
Have you ever needed a screening test for colon cancer (colonoscopy)?
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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