Doctor's Notes on Diverticulitis & Diverticulosis
Diverticulitis is inflammation of the small outpouchings, known as diverticuli, in the wall of the large intestine (colon). Diverticulosis refers to the presence of having diverticuli, and diverticulitis is the condition in which these diverticuli become irritated or inflamed. Diverticulosis increases with age due to a weakening of the walls of the colon over time. Increased pressure within the colon, such as with constipation, also promotes the formation of diverticuli. Once diverticulosis is present, it often becomes inflamed and progresses to diverticulitis.
Signs and symptoms associated with diverticulitis include:
- pain in the left lower abdomen,
- fever, and
- sometimes diarrhea or frequent urination.
Other signs and symptoms can include rectal bleeding and tenderness in the left lower abdomen.
What Is the Treatment for Diverticulitis & Diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is a common condition that typically does not cause symptoms or require treatment.
- Eating a diet high in fiber can help prevent diverticulitis if diverticulosis is present.
- If diverticulitis develops, mild cases are usually treated with antibiotics.
- Other treatment measures can include over-the-counter medications to control pain and following a low-fiber or liquid diet until symptoms improve.
- In cases of severe diverticulitis, hospital care may be needed with intravenous fluids and intravenous antibiotics.
- Surgery may be considered for complications such as abscess formation, perforation of the bowel, or blockages within the bowel.
Pancreatitis : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas.See Answer
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Abdominal Pain (Adults)Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatment of abdominal pain in adults and when to seek medical care for related conditions such as pancreatitis, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and more.
Can Diverticulitis Go Away on Its Own?An attack of uncomplicated, mild diverticulitis may go away on its own. It is important to see a doctor to assess the severity and determine if treatment is needed, however, because severe diverticulitis can cause serious complications including death.
Is Diverticulitis Serious?Diverticula are small pouches in the colon wall. Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula push through weak areas in the colon's outer layers of muscle. Signs and symptoms include gas, fever, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Treatment depends on complications, underlying medical conditions, and the severity of symptoms and signs.
What Are the Trigger Foods for Diverticulitis?Diverticulitis is a disease in which small pouches of the large intestine (colon) become inflamed and push through weak spots in the colon’s outer muscle layers. Foods that can trigger diverticulitis include red meats, processed meats, fried foods, and full fat dairy products.
What Is the Main Cause of Diverticulosis?A high-fat, low-fiber diet is the main culprit in diverticulosis, or the formation and periodic inflammation of out-pouchings in the intestinal wall. Genetics and low physical activity levels may also play a role.
What Is the Success Rate for Diverticulitis Surgery?About 15%-25% of patients who present with a first episode of acute diverticulitis have disease severe enough to require surgery. Up to 22% of those who have surgery will have a future attack. Diverticula are pouches formed from the walls of the intestine, and diverticulitis describes inflammation of these pouches.
What Triggers Diverticulitis?Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches in the large intestinal (colonic) wall called diverticula, are present. These diverticula arise in the colon and push through weak spots in the colon’s outer muscle layers. Each patient is different and people may find certain foods aggravate or trigger diverticulosis.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.