Here’s all you need to know about diverticulitis from its definition, causes and symptoms to the treatment options available for this condition.
One of the most common problems these days is diverticular. This is not a single disease but a group of conditions that affect the digestive tract. Out of the group of conditions of diverticular, the diverticulitis is said to be the most serious kind of disease which can cause serious complications.This disease comes with some uncomfortable symptoms and if not treated at time, it can turn into a long term health problem. Let us take a close look at what diverticulitis disease is, how it is caused, its symptoms and treatment options available for this condition with Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.
What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis is a condition that usually occurs when pouches begin to protrude outwards from the colon wall and start becoming infected and inflamed. These bulging pockets of tissues are formed due to the pressure within the colon that pushes out as the person ages. Diverticulosis is a kind of diverticula that is not infected or inflamed.
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Here’s what Dr. Chatterjee has to say about this condition, “Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that are formed in the lining of the digestive system often found in the lower part of the large intestine i.e colon. When one or more pouches become inflamed or infected the condition is known as diverticulitis. It can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and marked changes in bowel habits. To give the digestive system a chance to rest and recover, the doctor might suggest avoiding solid foods and following a clear liquid diet for a few days.”
What Causes Diverticulitis?
The diverticular disease is said to occur when small pouches start forming alongside a person’s digestive tract, especially on the colon wall. It occurs when the weak spots present in the outer layer of the colon muscle giveaways and the inner layer gets squeezed through.
This condition is caused due to the blockages in the diverticula opening caused due to undigested food particles or the feces due to which the diverticula gets infected and inflamed.
The main cause behind this blockage is said to be the lack of dietary fiber in the body, as this fiber helps to soften up the stool and makes it easier to pass through. Due to lack of fiber in diet, the stool formed is hard and is difficult to pass through which leads to the blockages in the diverticula opening and results in inflammation.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
As by now we know all about what diverticulitis is and what is the real cause behind this condition. Let us take a step ahead and learn about the symptoms of this condition so that one can seek for a timely treatment. Although most of the people suffering from diverticulitis do not experience symptoms of the disease and are not aware about the things taking place inside their body.
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There are still a few symptoms of infection and inflammation that can be observed in a person suffering from diverticulitis like-
- Change in bowel habits
- Abdominal tenderness
- Blood traces in stool
- Pain in abdominal region
- Rectal bleeding
The treatment that a person might receive from the doctor totally depends upon the degree of severity of the condition and the patient’s medical history. In the case of mild or uncomplicated diverticulitis the doctor might recommend his/her patient to make small lifestyle changes and prescribe some antibiotics. The case of mild or uncomplicated diverticulitis can be treated at home without a chas.
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When the disease becomes fatal and starts to develop more complications in the body, a proper treatment with hospitalization and medications is required depending on the severity of the disease. Some of the most common treatment options for treating diverticulitis are-
- Dietary Changes- Addition of high fiber food in regular diet.
- Medication- Antibiotic medicines are prescribed by the physician
- Needle Drainage- A procedure of draining the abscess pus by inserting a needle in the abdomen.
- Surgery- Two types of surgeries are performed to treat diverticulitis depending upon the severity of the disease that are ‘Bowel resection with colostomy’ and Bowel resection with anastomosis’
With inputs from Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals