What is Diverticulitis? Edit

Diverticulitis is a disease that happens when pouches form in the wall of the colon. It can be painful or you may not even know somethings wrong. Doctors think that these pouches form because of a low fiber diet and without adding bulk to the stool the colon has to work harder to push harder and the pressure may cause pouches to form. Bacteria may grow in the pouches, and this can lead to inflammation or infection.

How does Diverticulitis Affect the Digestive System? Edit

It affects the digestive system because you may get gas, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and bloating because of the comfortability of diverticulitis. These all affect the digestive system in a different way, but no one would like to have any of the systems.

Signs and Symptoms Edit

Signs and symptoms of diverticulitis may last a few hours to a week or more. The symptoms of the disease include[1]:

  • Belly pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • No appetite.
  • Cramps
  • Pain in the abdomen (usually in the lower left side but may occur on the right)

Diagnosis Edit

Diverticulitis is discovered with tests only. You can be diagnosed with the disease if you get a barium enema X-ray, a colonoscopy, a CT scan, or a blood test. These tests are done to find the cause of the medical problem during a screening exam.

Diverticulitis is most often diagnosed while having an acute attack/flare. This abdominal pain can be a sign of several issues, as your doctor must not look for similar symptoms but rule out causes for your symptoms. Your doctor will most times start off with a detailed physical test (examination). The physical test includes examining the abdomen for tenderness. However, when women go through this physical test, doctors examine the pelvis, to rule out pelvic disease. After the physical examination, the doctor will move on the following:

  • Blood and urine tests, to locate any signs of infection.
  • Pregnancy test for women of childbearing age, to make sure pregnancy inst the source of pain.
  • Liver tests, just to rule out that the liver isn't causing any pain.
  • Stool test, to make sure there is no infection with people experiencing diarrhea
  • CT scan, which can confirm a diagnosis of diverticulitis. [2]

Treatment Edit

The treatment you receive all depends on how bad the symptoms are. You may only need liquids first then go back to eating solid foods when feeling better but you may need heating pads for the belly and antibiotics. The last case option would be surgery. You will only need surgery if it does not get better with the other treatments or if you have long lasting chronic pain, a bowel obstruction, a fistula or a pocket of infection (abscess).

If the patient has been experiencing mild symptoms, they can be treated at home. However, the doctors will recommend the following:

  • Antibiotics, to suppress the infection.
  • A diet in liquid form for a couple days while the patients bowel takes time to heal and can gradually start eating solid food.
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol.[3]

This treatment is successful in 70 to 100 percent of people with mild diverticulitis.

However, if you have a severe heart attack or other health issues, you'll probably need to be hospitalized and be treated. The treatment involves:

  • antibiotics given through intravenous
  • Insertion of a tube to drain an abscess, if one has formed

You'll likely need surgery to treat diverticulitis if:

  • You have a complication, such as abscess, or bowel obstruction
  • You have had multiple episodes of mild diverticulitis

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