Inflammation of diverticula is called as diverticulitis. Diverticula are bulging pouches formed more commonly in the wall of large intestine. They can also be formed in stomach, esophagus and small intestine. After the age of 40 to 50 people are more prone to develop diverticula. Diverticula are usually found in sigmoid colon.
Many times patients with diverticulosis do not have any symptom but with diverticulitis, patient will have pain in abdomen, fever, nausea etc. Usually it is treated with conservative methods but if the problem is recurrent or becomes chronic or severe then surgery is advised.
Causes And Risk Factors For Diverticulitis
As we age, strength and elasticity of our bowel wall decrease, thus there are more chances of diverticulitis.
Diet high in refined carbohydrates and low fiber contributes to diverticulitis. High fiber diet helps to soften the stools and thus elimination is easy. But when diet is not rich in fiber, it leads to hard stools, thus intestines need to exert more in order to eliminate hard stools.
Sometimes hard fecal matter remains impacted in diverticula and then bacteria multiply in this region and cause inflammation.
Obesity and/or smoking increase your risk for developing diverticulitis.
Symptoms And Complications Of Diverticulitis
Patient experiences pain in abdomen and usually it is felt on the left side but sometimes it can be felt on right side. Tenderness in abdomen is seen. There may be diarrhea or constipation. If there is bacterial infection, then one may have fever, chills, nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite and bloating in abdomen, flatulence are the symptoms that are commonly seen in such patients.
- Peritonitis can occur due to rupture of inflamed diverticula. It is very dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.
- Bleeding through rectum.
- Abscess formation due to collection of pus in diverticula.
- Fistula formation.
- Bowel obstruction.
Blood test and CT scan is done to confirm the diagnosis.
How To Treat Diverticulitis?
- In mild cases patient is advised to take rest. He is asked to take liquid diet for few days then advised to take diet rich in fibers.
- Include lot of vegetables and fruits in the diet.
- If necessary course of antibiotic is given.
- Use hot fomentation to reduce the pain. Practice relaxation techniques. If necessary medication is given to relieve the pain.
- If the problem is severe or associated with complications then one may need surgery.
- Healthy diet and moderate exercise will help to keep your weight in control.
- Get rid of bad habits like smoking as early as possible.