5 Odd Diverticulitis Symptoms

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diverticulitis symptoms

Diverticulitis Symptoms - Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when diverticula, or small pouches, form in the lining of the intestine and become inflamed. Diverticula are common, particularly in people over the age of 60. Diverticulosis can occur when these diverticula become infected or blocked. Diverticulitis symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Diverticulitis treatment typically involves antibiotics to clear the infection and pain relief. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected portion of the intestine.

Diverticulitis Causes 

The exact cause of diverticulosis is unknown but thought to be related to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Diverticulitis may be more likely to occur in people who have a family history of the condition. Other risk factors for diverticulitis include:

- Being overweight or obese

- Eating a diet that is low in fiber and high in processed foods

- Having a sedentary lifestyle

- Smoking

- Taking certain medications, such as steroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Diverticulitis Symptoms and Complications

The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. This pain typically happens in the lower left side of the abdomen. Other symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Bloating: People with diverticulitis may feel bloated or full.
  • Constipation: Diverticulitis can cause constipation or make it worse.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common symptom of diverticulitis.
  • Fever: A fever may be a sign of an infection.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting may occur with abdominal pain.

If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they must see their doctor as soon as possible. Diverticulitis can lead to severe complications if it's not treated correctly, including:

  • Abscess: An abscess is a pus pocket that forms when diverticulitis infection spreads.
  • Fistula: A fistula is an abnormal connection between two organs. Fistulas can form between the intestine and other organs, such as the bladder or skin.
  • Perforation: A perforation is a hole in the wall of the intestine. This perforation can occur if the inflammation from diverticulitis weakens the intestinal wall.
  • Intestinal obstruction: Intestinal obstruction occurs when the intestine becomes blocked. This obstruction can happen due to a combination of inflammation and scar tissue.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when an infection spreads through the body.

Diverticulitis Treatment and Diagnosis

Diverticulitis is typically diagnosed based on a person's symptoms and medical history. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, may be used to confirm the diagnosis. A doctor may also perform a physical exam.

  • Blood or Urine Tests: Blood and urine tests may check for infection.
  • Pregnancy Test: A pregnancy test may be performed if a woman of childbearing age is experiencing abdominal pain.
  • Liver Enzyme Test: A liver enzyme test may check for liver damage.
  • Stool Test: A stool test may check for blood in the stool.
  • CT Scan: A CT scan may check for inflammation or abscesses.

Treatment for uncomplicated diverticulitis typically involves antibiotics and pain relief. Antibiotics clear the infection. Pain relief may be necessary to control abdominal pain.

Surgery may be necessary to treat diverticulitis if the person has complications, such as an abscess, fistula, perforation, or intestinal obstruction. Surgery is also sometimes needed to remove the affected portion of the intestine. The type of surgery performed will depend on the severity of the condition.

The most common type of surgery for diverticulitis is a laparoscopic procedure. This procedure involves making small incisions in the abdomen and inserting a camera into the stomach. The surgeon will then remove the affected portion of the intestine through one of these incisions.

A laparotomy is a more invasive surgery involving a large incision in the abdomen. The surgeon will then remove the affected portion of the intestine. This surgery is typically only performed if the person has a severe infection or complications.

Recovery from diverticulitis surgery typically takes 4-6 weeks. During this time, the person will need to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity. They must also follow a special diet to help their intestine heal properly.

Prevention of Diverticulitis

A person can do several things to prevent diverticulitis from occurring or recurring. These include:

  • Eating a high-fiber diet: A fiber diet helps keep the stool soft and prevents constipation, which can lead to diverticulitis.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids helps to keep the stool soft and prevents constipation.
  • Exercising regularly: Exercise helps to improve bowel function and prevents constipation.
  • Avoiding smoking: Smoking increases the risk of diverticulitis.
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