What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is the more serious form of diverticular disease. In diverticulosis, tiny pouches known as diverticula grow inside your colon but don't usually cause any symptoms.
This is a very common condition in people over the age of 50. Typically, diverticula occur in weak spots in the left side of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon.
Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become infected or inflamed. Approximately 10-20% of patients with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis, which may require surgery for proper treatment.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis can cause severe pain, often in the lower left part of your abdomen. Pain intensity can fluctuate, and you might also experience either constipation or diarrhea, fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting.
This condition can also lead to serious complications, which may worsen the symptoms or trigger additional problems.
How is diverticulitis treated?
After Dr. Araghizadeh confirms your diverticulitis diagnosis with colonoscopy and/or other tests, he designs a customized treatment plan for you. For mild diverticulitis, you might need oral antibiotics, a short-term low residue diet, and rest.
But, for severe diverticulitis, you may need intravenous (IV) antibiotics as well as a liquid diet to allow your colon to recover. If you experience diverticulitis complications or have repeated flare-ups, surgery is typically the best solution. Diverticulitis complications and their treatments include:
An abscess is an infected pus-filled pocket immediately outside your colon wall and is usually treated with drainage using a small catheter and antibiotics.
Diverticulitis can lead to a tear or puncture within your colon. The colon contents (stool and bacteria) can leak out of your bowel and cause severe infection or other serious problems, and surgical treatment may be the best solution.
Peritonitis occurs when your abdominal lining gets inflamed and/or infected as a result of free perforation of the colon from diverticulitis or other conditions. This causes serious symptoms and can possibly be fatal due to overwhelming infection, so prompt treatment is vital. Treatment usually involves surgical removal of the colon with a temporary colostomy. A colostomy is where the colon is brought to the skin and the contents (stool) empty into a bag.
A fistula is an abnormal connection between the colon (intestine) and another organ. Usually, a fistula develops between the colon and bladder. In women, fistulas can develop between your colon and vagina. Usually, fistula treatment requires removal of the section of the colon containing the fistula.
Dr. Araghizadeh is a colon and rectal surgery specialist who treats even the most complex cases of diverticulitis and fistula with success. Call the office of Farshid Araghizadeh, MD, MBA, or use the online booking tool to schedule your appointment now.