Many people grow bulging pouches within their digestive system. These pouches are called diverticula and in most cases they are mundane in nature.
However, sometimes, these pouches can inflame and potentially become infected. This condition is known as diverticulitis and can be much more of a problem.
People with diverticulitis often suffer from a high level of pain. This pain can be borderline debilitating and will require quick medical treatment to help. Some people are more likely to get diverticulitis based on a number of risk factors. The complications of diverticulitis can be very serious and are part of why quick treatment is important. Take this opportunity to learn more about diverticulitis. You never know when it could potentially strike you or someone you know.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
As briefly discussed, pain is the most common symptom of diverticulitis. It’s not a light pain, but is a constant pain that can last for several days at a time. The most common location for the pain is in the lower left side of the abdomen. Some cases do cause pain in the lower right instead. There are also some additional symptoms that can occur. These include:
- Suffering From a Fever
- Abdominal Tenderness When Touching the Area
- Bouts of Nausea and Vomiting
- Feeling Constipated or Suffering from Diarrhea
The secondary symptoms do a good job of confirming diagnosis for doctors, and medical help should be sought quickly once the pain arrives.
Some people are more likely to have their diverticula develop into diverticulitis. As a person ages they are more likely to deal with the condition. This can be compounded with obesity, which is another serious risk factor. People who don’t exercise are at risk. Smoking is something which risks a lot of health problems and diverticulitis is another of those. Diet also matters. People who eat a diet that doesn’t have enough fiber and who take in a lot of animal fat may find diverticulitis around the corner.
Another risk factor is the use of medications. Some of them include very common medications that are used for over the counter pain relief. They don’t cause it, but taking them often can increase the potential for diverticulitis.
Complications of Diverticulitis
In cases of acute diverticulitis, pain and symptoms occur. However, about one quarter of cases end up resulting in some kind of complication, which can make things much worse. Some of the potential complications include:
- Abscess - These can happen when the diverticula tears and pus ends up collecting in the torn pouch.
- Bowel Blockages - Diverticulitis can result in scarring and scar tissue. In turn, this can block up the bowel.
- Fistula - This is a tunnel which burrows from one area of the bowel to another or can move from the bowel to another organ.
- Peritonitis - If an inflamed diverticula ruptures, the intestines contents can spell into a person’s abdominal cavity and result in an emergency situation that needs immediate attention.
The type of treatment will depend on how severe the diverticulitis is. Mild cases receive the easiest treatment. Typically it may require some antibiotics while the bowel heals up. From there, a liquid diet is usually the next step to avoid any solids pressing in the bowel. This level of diverticulitis is known as uncomplicated diverticulitis.
Complicated diverticulitis occurs if the symptoms are severe or a person suffers from other health problems that may be exacerbating things. People often require hospitalization. Antibiotics may need to come in an IV. Tubes may need to be inserted to drain abscesses.
In some cases, surgery will be required. The less dangerous surgery features the removal of the diseased area and then connecting the healthy areas on each side together. Life goes on much the same as normal after this form of surgery. If the inflammation is severe, then a colostomy may be required. In these cases, a hole is made from the healthy part of the colon to a device/bag on the outside. Waste passes tino the bag to be removed. Once the diverticulitis inflammation has returned to normal, this can be reversed.