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Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
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What is diverticulitis?
In the Western world, diverticular disease is a highly prevalent health problem, despite the fact that it was a rather uncommon condition before the 20th century. It refers to a collection of illnesses that can have an effect on your digestive tract.
The condition known as diverticulitis is the most severe form of diverticular illness. It is possible for it to induce unpleasant symptoms as well as, in some instances, serious problems. These complications have the potential to produce long-term health issues if they are not managed.
Diverticulitis’s telltale signs and symptoms
Diverticulitis can result in symptoms that range from uncomfortable to debilitating. These symptoms can begin quickly, or they can build gradually over several days.
The following are some of the possible symptoms of diverticular disease:
a discomfort in your stomach
If you acquire diverticulitis, you can experience:
abdominal discomfort that is either persistent or severe
feeling queasy and throwing up
both a fever and chills
bleeding in your bowel movements
bruising or blood coming from your rectum
Pain in the abdominal region is the symptom of diverticulitis that is experienced most frequently. The lower left side of your abdomen is most likely going to be the location where you feel it. It is also possible for it to form on the right side of the abdomen.
If you acquire any of the symptoms described above, it could be an indication that diverticulitis or another problem has progressed to a more serious stage. Please contact your physician as soon as possible.
Diverticulitis’ root causes are as follows:
Diverticular illness is caused by the formation of pouches along your digestive tract, most frequently in your colon (large intestine). It is possible for the openings of these pouches, known as diverticula, to get blocked by feces or food that has been partially digested. This can lead to inflammation and infection of the diverticula.
There is no one known cause of diverticular disease; nevertheless, there are a number of factors that can raise a person’s chance of having diverticulitis. These factors include:
a weakening of the immune system
idleness in physical pursuits
alterations in the microbiota of the gut
a number of the drugs, including steroids
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What are the potential risks associated with diverticulitis?
More than seventy-five percent (Trustworthy Source) of instances of diverticulitis are uncomplicated, which leaves approximately twenty-five percent (%) for the development of problems.
These difficulties can include, but are not limited to:
abscess, sometimes known as a pus-filled pocket that has been infected.
phlegmon, also known as phlegmon, is an infectious region that is less well-confined than an abscess.
A fistula is an irregular connection that can form between two organs or between an organ and the skin. Fistulas can also develop between organs and the skin.
intestinal perforation refers to a tear or hole in the wall of the intestine that makes it possible for the contents of the colon to leak into the abdominal cavity, which can lead to inflammation and infection.
occlusion of the intestines, also known as intestinal blockage, is a condition in which stool cannot move through the intestines.
Diverticulitis is diagnosed as having occurred.
In order to make a correct diagnosis of diverticulitis, your physician will most likely question you about your symptoms, your medical history, and any drugs you now use. They will almost certainly carry out a physical examination on you in order to determine whether or not your abdomen is tender.
In the event that they require additional information, they may carry out a digital rectal exam in order to look for the following:
a hemorrhage in the rectal region
Diverticulitis is not the only ailment that can induce symptoms that are similar to those caused by other conditions. Your doctor may decide to perform one or more tests in order to rule out the possibility of other disorders and search for indications of diverticulitis.
Among the possible tests are:
imaging of your gastrointestinal (GI) system can be created through the use of abdominal X-rays, abdomen MRI scans, abdominal CT scans, or abdominal ultrasound.
colonoscopy to inspect the interior of your gastrointestinal tract; however, this procedure is only performed after a bout of diverticulosis.
a test of the patient’s feces to look for illnesses such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
a test of the urine to screen for infections
examinations of the patient’s blood to look for indications of inflammation, anemia, or renal or liver dysfunction
persons who were designated female at birth should have a pelvic check to rule out the possibility of gynecological issues.
test for pregnancy to rule out the possibility of pregnancy in individuals designated female at birth
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Using a colonoscopy to diagnose diverticulitis
If you have symptoms of diverticulitis, your doctor may encourage you to get a colonoscopy once the acute episode of your condition has passed (referred to above as “once the acute episode has passed”). A diagnosis of diverticulitis or another ailment that generates symptoms that are very similar to those caused by diverticulitis, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, can be helped along by this technique.
Your doctor will perform a colonoscopy on you in which he or she will thread a flexible scope through your rectum and into your colon. They will be able to check the interior of your colon by using this scope. In addition to that, they can utilize it to harvest tissue samples for diagnostic examination.
You will be given a sedative before this operation begins in order to assist you to feel more at ease while it is being performed.
During a normal colonoscopy, your physician can discover that you have diverticula if you have a history of colon problems. If the diverticula are not inflamed, diseased, or causing symptoms, you most likely will not require treatment for them.
A remedy for cases of diverticulitis
The severity of your diverticulitis will determine which therapy options are presented to you by your physician for this problem.
The majority of cases of diverticulitis that are not difficult can be treated at home. It’s possible that your doctor will suggest that you make some alterations to the way you eat. In certain circumstances, they may recommend medication for you to take, such as antibiotics.
If you suffer difficulties as a result of your diverticulitis, you may be required to seek treatment at a hospital. Trusted Source. It’s possible that fluids and antibiotics will be administered to you through an intravenous (IV) line. You could need to have surgery or another operation done, but that will depend on the kind of condition you’re dealing with.
Diet and diverticulitis
There is not one single meal that should be avoided by everybody who has diverticulitis, according to this reliable source. On the other hand, you can discover that particular meals either help or hinder your condition depending on how you eat them.
If you notice an improvement in your symptoms, your physician may suggest that you increase the amount of high-fiber foods you consume. Some studies Researchers who can be trusted have found a correlation between diets high in fiber and a lower incidence of diverticulitis. Other studies Even while Trusted Source has investigated the potential health advantages of including more fiber in one’s diet or taking fiber supplements as a treatment for diverticular disease, they do not yet know what function fiber should serve.
It’s possible that your doctor will also suggest that you cut down on the amount of red meat, high-fat dairy products, and refined grain goods that you consume. People who consume a diet that is abundant in these items have a higher risk of developing diverticulitis compared to those who consume a diet that is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, according to the findings of a large cohort.
Diet can be an important component in the overall management of diverticulitis and your digestive health. Spend a little bit of time educating yourself on the many meals that could be affecting your symptoms.
Alterations to one’s diet
It is possible that your doctor will recommend that you consume only clear liquids and refrain from eating solid foods for a period of time in order to provide your digestive system with the opportunity to rest and recuperate.
You might be able to try eating foods low in fiber while you wait for your condition to recover if your symptoms are minimal or if they have already started to get better. It is possible that when your condition improves, your doctor will advise you to increase the amount of high-fiber foods that you consume at meals and snacks.
Your primary care physician may suggest that you take over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by diverticulitis (Tylenol).
If they have reason to believe that you have an infection, they will most likely give you a prescription for antibiotics to treat it. These may include the following:
metronidazole (Flagyl, Flagyl ER)
Even if your symptoms improve after the first few doses of antibiotics that have been recommended to you, it is still crucial to complete the full course of medication.
Different methods also
If you acquire a severe case of diverticulitis that cannot be managed by changes in diet and medicine alone, your physician may consider one of the following surgeries as an alternative to treating your condition:
Needle drainage. During this process, a needle will be placed into your abdomen in order to drain pus from an abscess that has formed there.
Surgery. During surgery, procedures such as draining pus from an abscess, fixing a fistula, or removing infected sections of the colon may be performed.
Surgery for diverticulitis
If you have several episodes of diverticulitis that cannot be adequately managed by making adjustments to your diet or taking medications, your physician may suggest that you have surgery. Trusted Sourcesurgery is an option. Surgery is another option for treating the problems that can arise from diverticulitis.
There are mostly two different kinds.
a reliable source of the surgical procedure that is utilized to treat diverticulitis.
Resection of the bowel followed by an anastomosis
A gut resection with anastomosis is a surgical procedure in which contaminated sections of the patient’s colon are cut out and the healthy sections are reattached to one another.
Colostomy placement following bowel resection
During a bowel resection with a colostomy, contaminated sections of your colon are removed by the surgeon, who then joins the end of the healthy segment of your colon to a stoma, which is an incision in your belly.
Both operations can be carried out either through an open incision or with a laparoscopic incision.
Treatments available at home for diverticulitis
Altering one’s diet is the primary component of most at-home treatments for diverticulitis; however, there are a few other choices that may be beneficial for relieving symptoms and promoting digestive health.
The following are some examples of home treatments for diverticulitis:
Probiotics. Although there is a need for greater investigation, there have been several studies. Researchers from a Reputable Source have discovered that particular strains of probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of diverticulitis or prevent their onset.
Aromatherapy. It has been demonstrated through a reliable source that a number of essential oils can reduce pain; therefore, using these oils may be good for the management of your symptoms.
Acupuncture. In addition to the fact that acupuncture can assist alleviate digestive difficulties like constipation, some study suggests that it may also be helpful in treating chronic pain.
Herbs. Ginger, turmeric, and rosemary are just three examples of the many plants that have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory qualities. However, in order to properly evaluate the benefits of these herbs on diverticulitis, in particular, additional research is required.
Diverticulitis caused by Meckel
Adults are typically diagnosed with the diverticular illness. Trusted Source. Babies are occasionally born with diverticula, but this is quite uncommon. Meckel’s diverticulum is the name given to this condition when it occurs. The condition known as Meckel’s diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become inflamed.
In some patients, the symptoms of Meckel’s diverticulum do not manifest in a recognizable way. In other instances, it may induce symptoms such as the following, which are sourced from:
poop with blood on it
bruising and bleeding in the rectum
Make sure to take your child to the doctor as soon as possible if you have any concerns that they may be suffering from diverticulitis. Gain an understanding of the various methods that pediatricians can employ in order to diagnose and treat Meckel’s diverticulum.
Avoiding the development of diverticulitis
More investigation is required to determine the reasons behind diverticular diseases like diverticulitis and diverticulitis. At this time, specialists are of the opinion that a number of elements are involved. Alterations to one’s way of life can eliminate or reduce the impact of some possible risk factors.
For instance, it might be beneficial to use Trusted Source to:
Make an effort to keep your weight at a healthy level.
Consume a diet that is rich in fiber to assist in the process of producing bulkier stools (however, in acute diverticulitis, you may want to avoid fiber)
Reduce the amount of saturated fat that you consume.
get enough vitamin D
get regular exercise if feasible
try to prevent cigarette smoke
These preventative measures also have the potential to contribute to general health promotion.
Factors that can lead to diverticulitis
Age is considered to be one of the primary risk factors for diverticulitis. In general, older adults have a higher risk of developing diverticulitis than younger ones do. Men under the age of 50 and women between the ages of 50 and 70 are most likely to be affected by it.
It’s possible that those who get diverticula at a younger age are at a higher risk of developing diverticulitis. If a person is younger, there is also a higher likelihood that they will be admitted to a hospital in the event that they have diverticulitis compared to an older person.
According to an analysis of research that was released in 2018 by a Reliable Source, additional potential risk factors for diverticulitis include the following:
The past of the family
Studies have shown that genetics play a role in diverticular disease, with some reports estimating that approximately 40 to 50 percent of the potential risk of diverticular disease is hereditary.
Insufficient amounts of vitamin D
those with higher levels of vitamin D may have a lesser likelihood of developing diverticulitis. To better understand the possible connection between vitamin D and diverticulitis, additional research is required.
According to research conducted by Reliable Source, those who have a higher body mass index (BMI) and wider waists have an increased likelihood of developing diverticulitis.
It is likely that obesity increases the incidence of diverticulitis by altering the balance of bacteria that is found in your digestive tract; however, additional research is required to determine the significance of this factor.
Inactivity in terms of the body
According to Reliable Source, those who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of developing diverticulitis compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles. However, further investigation into this connection is still required.
Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or smoking might lead to serious health complications.
The use of aspirin, ibuprofen or any of the other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on a regular basis may increase your risk of diverticulitis.
Tobacco users have a higher risk of developing diverticular disease, including diverticulitis, compared to people who do not use tobacco products.
There is no solid evidence that drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting this condition, according to an assessment of studies that were conducted in 2017.
If you consume alcohol, your physician would most likely advise you to limit how much you drink to safe, healthy levels. Even though consuming alcohol might not directly cause diverticulitis, drinking too much might put you at increased risk for a wide variety of other health concerns.
Diverticulitis vs. diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is the medical term given to the condition in which a person has diverticula yet they are not infectious or inflammatory.
In some people, diverticulitis can cause symptoms like pain in the belly and bloat. In other circumstances, diverticulitis does not cause any symptoms. When this occurs, the condition in question is referred to as “symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease” (SUDD).
Diverticulitis in its various other forms
It’s also possible for diverticula to form in your bladder. This occurs when the lining of your bladder creates pouches, which causes it to protrude through weak areas in the wall of your bladder.
Sometimes bladder diverticula are present at birth. In some instances, the symptoms don’t appear until much later in life. It is possible for them to develop if the exit of your bladder is obstructed, or if your bladder isn’t functioning properly as a result of an illness or injury.
The condition known as bladder diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula that are found in the bladder become inflamed. Antibiotics and pain relievers are possible treatments for bladder diverticulitis, which may be prescribed to you by your doctor. They may also suggest surgery to correct the diverticula if it is severe enough.
It’s conceivable for the diverticulitis that’s affecting your intestines to spread to your bladder as well. If your condition is severe, you may end up developing a fistula between your colon and bladder. A colovesical fistula is a medical term for this condition. Find out what the symptoms of this illness are.
Your esophagus also has the potential to develop diverticula at some point. This takes place when pouches called Trusted Source form in the lining of your esophagus.
Esophageal diverticula are infrequent. When they do manifest, it is typically a gradual process that takes place over a significant period of time. As they develop, they are capable of causing a variety of symptoms and consequences, including the following:
a difficult time swallowing
a sore throat when swallowing
halitosis, often known as chronic bad breath
retching, or the act of regurgitating food and saliva
pulmonary aspiration refers to inhaling saliva or food that has been regurgitated into the lungs.
pneumonia caused by aspiration is characterized by the development of a lung infection after inhaling food or saliva.
Esophageal diverticulitis is the name given to the condition that occurs when the diverticula become inflamed.
Antibiotics and pain relievers are possible treatments for esophageal diverticulitis, which can be diagnosed by a medical professional. They may suggest surgery as the best course of treatment to correct the diverticula.
The Western world has a relatively high prevalence of diverticulitis, according to this reliable source. Alterations in diet and medicine may be necessary, but in the majority of cases, the condition is treatable.
In the event that complications arise, the consequences may be severe. If you have a complex case of diverticulitis, your physician will probably recommend that you seek treatment in a hospital rather than at home. If there is damage to your colon, you might require surgical intervention to fix it.
Talk to your physician if you suspect you have diverticulitis or if you have any doubts about your likelihood of having it. They are able to teach you how to manage this ailment and improve the health of your digestive tract.