Suffering from a bowel condition can be very frustrating: symptoms may come and go, and you’re never entirely sure if the next thing you’re going to eat is going to leave you running to the bathroom, or with a serious stomach ache. Fortunately though, when it comes to Diverticulitis, the condition is very treatable and manageable.
Diverticulitis is a common condition that occurs in the lower portion of the large intestine, or colon, when small pouches, called Diverticula, become inflamed or infected.
Diverticula tend to occur in the weaker parts of the colon where excessive pressure from hard and bulky stool causes small protruding packets to form in the colon.
Oftentimes, people with diverticula suffer from no symptoms or discomfort. Over time though, or as a result of certain foods, diverticulas can collect food particles and become inflamed or infected, resulting in diverticulitis.
When Diverticulitis occurs, the main symptom for many people is abdominal pain that is comparable to a severe stomach ache from indigestion. The pain may be constant and last for several days in some cases. Other symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
Constipation, or less commonly, diarrhea
Diverticula forms due to excessive pressure in the colon as a result of obesity or from hard stool. Having a diet that is low in fiber and high in fat forms a big risk for developing diverticula and diverticulitis. Other risk factors include:
Aging: Most people with diverticulitis are over 40 years old.
Obesity: Being overweight increases your chances to develop diverticula.
Smoking: Smoking seriously affects the gastrointestinal tract and weakens membranes in the tract that work to keep your intestines strong.
Certain Medications: Steroids, opiates, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as those containing ibuprofen, increase your chances of developing diverticula
Lack of exercise
The treatment your doctor decides on depends on the severity of the diverticulitis. In mild cases, oral antibiotics, bowel rest and dietary changes should be sufficient to remove the infection. If the infection has become serious, your doctor may require intravenous antibiotics to deal with the diverticulitis. And, in cases where complications have occurred, including abscesses and ruptures, surgery may be necessary to remove the portion of the affected colon.
If you suffer from diverta is important to keep your diet and lifestyle in check to prevent diverticulitis. If you want to learn more about diverticulitis or if you want to discuss our treatment options for diverticulitis, contact us today or book an appointment.