Diverticulitis Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention Missed by Mostly People- Term life

Diverticulitis – Topic Overview

  • Topic Overview
  • Cause
  • Symptoms
  • What Happens
  • What Increases Your Risk
  • When To Call a Doctor
  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment Overview
  • Prevention
  • Home Treatment
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Other Treatment
  • Other Places To Get Help
  • Related Information
  • References
  • Credits

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Diverticulosis happens when pouches (diverticula camera.gif) form in the wall of the colon camera.gif. If these pouches get inflamed or infected, it is calleddiverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be very painful.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticula in thecolon (diverticulosis). But they think that a low-fiber diet may play a role. 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.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticulitis. Bacteria grow in the pouches, and this can lead to inflammation or infection.

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 is sometimes worse when you move. This is the most common symptom.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Bloating and gas.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Not feeling like eating.
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Diverticulitis Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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CONTINUE READINGYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine you. He or she may do tests to see 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 (CBC).
  • Other tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan.

The treatment you need depends on how bad 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. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better.

For mild cramps and belly pain:

  • Use a heating pad, set on low, on your belly.
  • Relax. For example, try meditation or slow, deep breathing in a quiet room.
  • Take medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

You may need surgery only if diverticulitis doesn’t get better with other treatment, or if you have problems such as long-lasting (chronic) pain, abowel obstruction, a fistula, or a pocket of infection (abscess).

You may be able to prevent diverticulitis if you drink plenty of water, get regular exercise, and eat a high-fiber diet. A high-fiber diet includes whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

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Diverticulitis – Cause

Doctors aren’t sure what causesdiverticulitis. Bacteria grow in the pouches (diverticula camera.gif), and this can lead to inflammation or infection. Pressure may lead to a small perforation or tear in the wall of the intestine. Peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdominal wall, may develop if infection spills into the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity.

The reason diverticula form in the wall of the large intestine (colon) is not completely understood. Doctors think diverticula form when high pressure inside the colon pushes against weak spots in the colon wall. Uncoordinated movements of the colon can also contribute to the development of diverticula.

Normally, a diet with adequate fiber (also called roughage) produces stool that is bulky and can move easily through the colon. If a diet is low in fiber, the colon must exert more pressure than usual to move small, hard stool. A low-fiber diet also can increase the time stool remains in the bowel. This adds to the high pressure. Pouches may form when the high pressure pushes against weak spots in the colon where bloodvessels pass through the muscle layer of the bowel wall to supply bloodto the inner wall.

It is not known why some people who have these diverticula (a condition called diverticulosis) develop diverticulitis and others do not.

Diverticulitis – Symptoms

  • Tenderness, cramps, or pain in the abdomen (usually in the lower left side but may occur on the right) that is sometimes worse when you move.
  • Fever and chills.
  • A bloated feeling, abdominal swelling, or gas.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.

Complications also can cause symptoms. If an abnormal opening (fistula) develops between the colon and the vagina or the colon and the urethra, you may pass air or stool from the vagina or the urethra.

Other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a urinary tract infection, may cause symptoms similar to diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis – What Increases Your Risk

 The possibility of having diverticulitisincreases with age

You may be more likely to develop diverticulitis if you:

  • Eat a low-fiber diet.
  • Have a family history of diverticulosis.
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or aspirinregularly (more than 4 days a week) for many years.2

    Diverticulitis – When To Call a Doctor

    • Topic Overview
    • Cause
    • Symptoms
    • What Happens
    • What Increases Your Risk
    • When To Call a Doctor
    • Exams and Tests
    • Treatment Overview
    • Prevention
    • Home Treatment
    • Medications
    • Surgery
    • Other Treatment
    • Other Places To Get Help
    • Related Information
    • References
    • Credits

    Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if the person has been bleeding from the anus and has signs ofshock, which could mean that a diverticular pouch is bleeding (diverticular bleeding). Signs of shock include passing out, or feeling very dizzy, weak, or less alert.

    Call your doctor immediately if you have pain in the abdomen that is in one spot (as opposed to general pain in the abdomen), especially if you also have:

    • Fever or chills.
    • Nausea and vomiting.
    • Unusual changes in your bowel movements or abdominal swelling.
    • Blood in your stool.
    • Pain that is worse when you move.
    • Burning pain when you urinate.
    • Abnormal vaginal discharge.

    Call your doctor immediately if you have:

    • Severe pain in the abdomen that is getting worse.
    • Pain in the abdomen that becomes worse when you move or cough.
    • A stool that is mostly blood (more than a few streaks of blood on the stool). Blood in the stool may appear as reddish or maroon-colored liquid or clots or may produce a black stool that looks like tar.
    • Passed gas or stool from your urethra while urinating. This likely means that you have an opening (fistula) between the bowel and the urinary tract.

    Call your doctor if you:

    • Have cramping pain that does not get better when you have a bowel movement or pass gas.
    • Have rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, and you have beenlosing weight without trying.
      • You have a fever.
      • Your pain is getting worse.
      • You can’t keep down liquids.
      • You are not better after 3 days.

      Watchful waiting

      It is not uncommon to have bloating, gas pressure, or mild abdominal (belly) pain. These can be caused by eating certain foods or by stress. Home treatment usually will take care of these symptoms. If home treatment does not help or if the symptoms become worse, see your doctor.

      Who to see

      Health professionals who can diagnose and prescribe treatment fordiverticulitis include:

      • Family medicine physician, general practitioner, or other primary care doctor.
      • Internist.
      • Physician assistant.
      • Nurse practitioner.

      If further tests are needed, if your symptoms do not respond to treatment, or if you may need surgery, your doctor may refer you to a:

      • Gastroenterologist.
      • Surgeon.

      To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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