Diverticulitis: What It Is and How To Treat It

If you’re suffering from diverticulitis, it’s important to quickly seek treatment. That’s because the condition can cause a perforated colon in severe cases. This could lead to an internal infection that is likely to lead to an extended hospital stay or even be fatal. Here’s what patients need to know about this serious and painful condition:

Symptoms Vary Between Patients

While severe abdominal pain is a hallmark symptom of diverticulitis, it’s important to know that everyone’s experience with it is different. However, you can typically expect to experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea (less common than constipation)

Diverticulitis is Inflammation in the Pouches of Your Colon

Diverticulitis is infection and inflammation in the pouches in your colon. These pouches are also called haustra, and they are only found in the large intestine.

Normally, these pouches help to store beneficial bacteria. However, if they become infected, the walls of the colon can be compromised. This could lead to a perforation that allows pus from the infection, bacteria, and feces from the colon to spill into the abdominal cavity. If this occurs, an infection can take hold, affect the abdominal organs and even become systemic.

Age and Genetics are the Biggest Risk Factors

Diverticulitis can occur at any age. However, it’s much more common in people who are 40 or older. It’s especially common in people who are older than 70.

However, age is not the only risk factor for the condition. Genetic factors also play a strong role in determining who is at risk for developing it. For example, if you have a relative who developed diverticulitis, you are likely at higher risk and should seek a colorectal expert for regular colon health screenings.

It’s Easily Treated if Detected Early

Diverticulitis can sometimes be treated with antibiotics and diet modifications. However, if it has progressed too far, large areas of the colon may be affected, or the infection may become severe, requiring surgery to correct the disease. If you need surgery for diverticulitis, you will likely need to spend at least several days in the hospital. After this, you will typically need to follow a high-fiber diet to reduce your risk of suffering another episode.

Certain Foods Increase Your Risk

A diet of red meat, fat, and little fiber increases your risk of several conditions, including diverticulitis. The longer stool remains in the intestines and colon, the greater risk there is of experiencing diverticulitis, especially if straining during constipation episodes is a regular experience with your bowel habits.

Seek Treatment Right Away if You’re Suffering from Symptoms of Diverticulitis

If you develop abdominal pain, fever and/or other symptoms of the disease, it’s important to seek treatment from experts like those at Arizona Colorectal Experts right away. We have extensive experience when it comes to treating diverticulitis and other diseases that affect the colon and/or rectum. Don’t wait to give us a call or send us a message online today to eliminate your symptoms and safeguard your colon health for the future.