Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis

Overview

The condition in which smallpouch-like projections are developed in the inner lining of the lower part of the large intestine. These pouches are called diverticula. When these pouches get inflamed or infected, they pose a threat to health and the condition is called Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis happens when bacteria get caught in these pouches.

Signs and symptoms

Though some cases of Diverticulitis display no symptoms, there are certain observed symptoms of this condition such as pain in the lower left abdomen, change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhoea), vomiting, high fever, fatigue and bladder infection.

Causes and risk factors

Diverticulitis is predominantly found in the age group of above 60, equally affecting both men and women. There is a high risk of developing Diverticulitis with growing age, with the increased use of laxatives, a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise, genetically inherited conditions, obesity and smoking.

Complications

There could be two major complications – colon bleeding and colon constriction. Since Diverticulitis can be asymptomatic for a few cases, there is a scope of pus formation, infection or an obstructed colon.

Diagnosis

Diverticular diseases are diagnosed by using barium enema test in which the liquid barium is injected into the colon through the rectum to identify polyps. Colonoscopy is another diagnostic procedure to identify any extra growths in the colon.

Surgery

For mild cases of Diverticulitis, oral medication, rest, a liquid diet with low fibre foods introduced after a few days of treatment, are the suggested treatments. However, in cases of severe symptoms or complications like colon inflammation, Colostomy for bowel resection is done by creating a gap in the abdominal wall. In some cases, the affected part of the intestine is removed.

Prevention

A diet rich in fibre and fruits will help to maintain a healthy gut, regular exercising, drinking plenty of fluids, andactive and stress-free lifestyle and reduced use of laxatives can help to prevent the onset of Diverticulitis.

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