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DIVERTICULITIS

Diverticulitis is a disease related to the digestive system that affects the large intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when bulging sacs or pockets that appear in the lining of the large intestine get inflamed and infected. This condition is known as diverticulitis. It is a painful condition and the person suffering with diverticulitis may experience pain in the left side of the abdomen. This is especially accompanied by rectal bleeding.

Diverticulitis may develop anywhere in the digestive system but it is more common in the large intestine. It is mostly found in the lower part of the large intestine. This disease affects people above the age of 40 years and may cause a lot of problems. Based on the severity of the condition, appropriate treatment is given. In case of mild diverticulitis, the patient may recover with proper rest and in other serious conditions; the patient may have to undergo a surgery.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of diverticulitis may last from few hours to a few weeks. The symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Bloating and gas
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Constipation

The patient may suffer from diarrhea in rare cases. He may also feel feverish, tired and unwell. The temperature may be on a higher side.

CAUSES

The exact cause of the condition is not known. However, eating food which is low in fiber may be the cause for the development of diverticulitis. Having food which is less in fiber creates constipation in the person. During constipation, more pressure is required to move the stool which may lead to increased pressure in the colon. This may lead to the formation of pores in the inner lining of the colon. The weak spots in the colon wall are pressurized causing the diverticula to tear. This results in the inflammation in the affected area and also the spread of infection from the colon to the abdominal cavity.

RISK FACTORS

There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing diverticulitis.

  • The chance of developing diverticulitis may increase with the age of the person.
  • People who are over-weight or obese are at a risk of diverticulitis.
  • Cigarette smoking may also increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Lack of exercise may lead to the development of diverticulitis.
  • People who have good amount of fiber content in their diet are definitely at a risk of developing the disease.
  • Certain medications such as naproxen, steroids etc may have constipation as one of its side effects and therefore people taking these drugs are at a risk of developing diverticulitis.

COMPLICATIONS

More than 25 percent of the people suffering from diverticulitis may develop the following complications.

  • Accumulation of pus in the sac lining the colon wall
  • The colon or the small intestine may get blocked due to scarring
  • Formation of an abnormal passage between the bowel and bladder
  • The spillage of the infectious content from the colon into the abdominal cavity

DIAGNOSIS

The following are the various diagnostic tests performed in a person suffering from stomach cancer.

  • Physical examination of the patient is performed to check for any changes in the abdomen and the doctor may also ask about the medical history of the patient.
  • Ultrasound scan which is also referred to as sonogram, is a diagnostic device which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of the body. This is performed if the doctor suspects any changes in any part of the stomach. CT scan or PET scan is also taken to check for the spread of disease in the stomach. It takes radiographic pictures of the inside of the stomach.
  • Blood test is performed to check the levels of white blood cells as an increase in the level of white blood cells may indicate the presence of infection.
  • Colonoscopy is also performed to get a clear view of the condition inside the colon. This is performed by inserting a long tube into the colon and the image is displayed on a monitor.

TREATMENT

The treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition. The following are the treatments given for diverticulitis.

For people with mild symptoms of diverticulitis, antibiotics, liquid diet for a few days and solid food rich in fiber may be given. Over-the-counter drugs are also prescribed by the doctor to treat the condition.

In case of severe condition, the doctor may recommend for a surgery. Surgery for diverticulitis is of two types.

  • Primary bowel resection is a surgery in which the infected and diseased segments of the intestine are removed and healthy tissues are inserted back to rejoin the colon and rectum. Based on the inflammation, the doctor may decide an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery.
  • Bowel resection with colostomy is a surgery which is performed when the surgeon decides to let the large intestine heal before the surgery. In this process a bad is attached t the intestine to collect the waste material into the bad and once the inflammation is reduced the surgery is performed.
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