What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis happens when pouches form in the wall of the colon. If these pouches becomes infected or inflamed, it is called diverticulitis.
Causes of Diverticulitis
Doctors aren’t certain what causes diverticula in the colon (diverticulitis). However, they suspect that a diet low in fiber may be responsible. Without fiber to add bulk to the stool, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward. The pressure from this may cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon. Diverticulitis can be extremely painful.
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Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Symptoms of diverticulitis may last from a few hours to a week or more. Symptoms include:
- Belly pain, usually in the lower left side, that gets worse when you move
- Bloating and gas
- Fever and chills
- Lack of appetite
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine you. He or she may carryout tests to check if you have an infection or to make sure that you don’t have other problems. Tests may include:
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count.
- Other tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan.
Treatment of Diverticulitis
The treatment you need depends on how severe your symptoms are. You may need to have only liquids at first, and then return to solid food when you start feeling better. Your doctor will give you medicines for pain and antibiotics. Take the antibiotics as directed by your physician. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better.
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For mild cramps and belly pain:
- Use a heating pad, set on low, on your belly.
- Take medicine, such as acetaminophen.
- You may need surgery only if diverticulitis doesn’t get better with other treatment, or if you have problems such as protracted (chronic) pain, a bowel obstruction, a fistula, or a pocket of infection.
How can you prevent diverticulitis?
- Diverticulitis can be prevented by;
- Drinking lots of water
- Eating high-fiber diet including fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Getting regular exercise
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The odds of having diverticulitis increases with age. You may be more likely to develop diverticulosis if you:
- Have a family history of diverticulosis
- Eat diet rich in a low-fiber.
- Regular use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)