Diverticulitis - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST


Diverticulitis: Basic Overview

Though very rarely known, Diverticulahappens to be small and bulging pouches which are found in the inner lining of the digestive system. Mostly, they are found along the lower part of the large intestine, which is also known as colon. Diverticulitisare commonly found in people above the age of 40 years and they are known to cause immense pain and problem. Often, cases have been reported of the formation of more than one pouch in patients. In such a condition when the pouches have become inflamed and infected, then this condition is known as Diverticulitis. Severe abdominal pains, fever, nausea, change in the bowel habits are some of the major symptoms of the condition.

Though mild form of the disease can be easily treated with rest, change in the diet and antibiotics. Severe forms of the same may might require surgery for correction.  

Causes of Diverticulitis:

One of the major cause of the condition is the increase in the pressure around the weak places of the colon, which causes the organ to give way under the increasing pressure. This also causes the marble sized pouches to protrude well through the walls of the colon.

Diverticulitis, can also occur when the diverticula tears through leading to inflammation and infection in the affected region. 

Signs and Symptoms of Diverticulitis:

Some of the major signs and symptoms of Diverticulitis are as follows:

  • Increased pain in the abdominal area. This pain maybe consistent and could persist for many days. The pain is usually felt around the lower side of the abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Consistent fever
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • Constipation or diarrhoea in some of the patients.

The chances of contracting Diverticulitis tends to increase with age and this condition is more common in people above the age of 40. However, overweight and morbid obesity could be some of the other major factors marking the occurrance of the condition. Certain medications, such as steroids, opiates as well as anti inflammatory medications too tend to increase the risk of contracting the condition. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Diverticulitis:

The condition tends to be diagnosed usually after an acute attack. Pain in the abdomen is one of the major symptoms of the condition. However, the doctor may perform some simple tests in order to rule out some other major possibilities.

A physical examination is the first plausible test which is performed by the doctor. In this, the doctor tests your abdomen for signs of tenderness. In women, a pelvic exam is also done in order to rule out the chances of pelvic disease.

Blood and urine tests could be done in order to check the patient for signs of infections. Pregnancy test is also done for women, as pregnancy could be one of the major reasons for abdomen pain. Liver function tests and stool test could also be recommended for some patients. A CT scan could be done in order to check the patient for the signs of infection and inflammation which can indicate the acuteness of the condition and make way for the correct treatment plan for the condition. 

Treatment and Drugs for Diverticulitis:

The treatment option for the condition is greatly based on the severity of the condition. In case a patient is suffering from uncomplicated diverticulitis, a simple home treatment regimen containing antibiotics to treat the condition can be prescribed.

The doctor additionally may also prescribe a liquid diet to the patient until the symptoms of the condition improve. Over the counter medications, such as Acetaminophen can be recommended. This course of treatment has a success rate of 70% and above.

However, in case of patients suffering from complicated diverticulitis, hospitalization is generally required. This is accompanied by intravenous antibiotics and the insertion of a tube in order to remove and drain out the fluid which has formed inside the cavity of the colon.

Surgery is another one of the plausible options for the treatment of the condition. Surgery is done for patients who have suffered from multiple episodes of the condition and have a compromised immune system. The diseased areas of the intestine are removed surgically and are then reconnected back to the healthy ones. This allows the patient to have a normal and healthy bowel movement. This surgery option is based on the amount of the inflammation that the patient is suffering from.

A bowel resection accompanied with colostomy is also done in some other cases. In patients who have had increased inflammation, a colostomy is performed. In this, the opening of the abdominal wall is connected to a healthy portion of the colon. By doing so, the waste products can directly open into a bag. After the procedure, when the inflammation has eased the colostomy can be reversed back to the normal and the bowel can be reconnected back.

Add Comment
Add Comment

Login to Add Comment

Comment as Guest