Diagnosis and Management of Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is caused by a condition called diverticulosis, which involves small pouches (diverticula) in the digestive tract and is common in people over the age of 40. Nearly half the people in the US experience diverticula by the time they are 60. Diverticula can occur anywhere within the digestive tract but are most common in the large intestine (colon). Although these pouches are often harmless, they can become infected and lead to pain, fever and nausea, causing diverticulitis.
When these pouches become infected, they cause symptoms similar to appendicitis, with severe abdominal pain focused on the left side rather than the right. This condition also causes fever, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and rectal bleeding. The diverticula form from pressure on naturally weak areas of the colon, and infection occurs from prolonged pressure. Certain factors, such as age, lack of fiber and lack of exercise, may increase the pressure on the colon.
Since diverticulosis does not cause symptoms, it is often detected during routine screening exams, while diverticulitis can be diagnosed during a flare-up of symptoms. Your doctor may perform a blood test and CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Because diverticulitis can lead to serious complications, it is important to effectively treat the condition. Treatment depends on the severity of the infection but can range from rest to hospitalization to surgery to remove part of the colon. A diet high in fiber may help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of developing diverticulitis.
To learn more about our services for Management of Diverticulitis, please contact us online or call us at 856-673-3288.