What Is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis is a condition when small bulges/pouches have formed in your digestive system (called diverticula), normally seen in the lower part of the large colon. This condition is very common among people over 50 years and rarely causes problems. However, sometimes, these bulges become inflamed or infected, causing a condition known as diverticulitis.
Although diverticula are usually asymptomatic, diverticulitis can cause various symptoms and discomfort, including:
- Sever and persisting abdominal pain
- High fever
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in your bowel habits, going for constipation to diarrhea.
Causes of Diverticulitis
Diverticula usually develops as the result of the protrusion of the colon wall through previously formed weak spots. Diverticulitis occurs as the result of either, inflammation or infection, of these tiny marble-shape pouches.
There are several risk factors that might increase the possibility of developing diverticulitis, including:
- Unhealthy dietary habits
- Low levels of physical activity
Mild diverticulitis can be treated with medication and habit changes. On the other hand, sever diverticulitis might require surgery, especially to avoid further complications with your health. Diverticulitis can be treated using Laparoscopic Surgery.
If your symptoms are not severe, you might receive medical treatment and some advices, including:
- Antibiotics for the diverticula infection
- A high-fiber diet and a lot of liquid during some days
- Pain killers if needed
If you are experiencing a severe case of diverticulitis, your doctor will recommend you to stay in the hospital to be treated. The treatment involves:
- Intravenous antibiotics
- Intravenous hydration and electrolytical reposition
- Vital signs monitoring
In some cases, diverticulitis might get complicated with a bowel abscess, fistula or obstruction, or even with bowel perforation. In these situations, immediate surgery will be required to solve the problem.
There are two main surgery techniques, including:
- Primary bowel resection. In which the doctor removes the affected portion of the intestine and reconnects the remaining segments together.
- Bowel resection with colostomy. This option is for really severe cases, when the affected tissue simply can’t be reconnected. Your surgeon will cut a portion of your colon and leave the remaining portion open to the exterior and connected to a colostomy bag. The waste now passes through the bag. And, after some recovery time, the colostomy might be reversed and the bowel reconnected, in order to have a normal bowel movement.
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