Diverticulum is a biological term for pouching of a hollow, fluid-filled structure in any part of the body. Diverticulitis is a common ailment where small, bulging pockets called diverticula are formed in the wall of the colon. The colon becomes inflamed and infected when these diverticula rupture and the condition is known as diverticulitis. The disease is common amongst individuals above the age group of 40. Mild diverticulitis can be treated with life style changes but severe and recurring diverticulitis might require surgery.
When there are changes inside the intestine due to high pressure, there is incorrect contracting of the intestines, which can lead to diverticulitis.
What Causes Diverticulitis?
- Low fibre diet and refined foods
- Straining to pass stools
- Ageing and heredity
- Physical inactivity
- Being overweight
- Bloating and cramping in the lower part of the belly
- Blood in stool
- Tenderness in the left and lower side of the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Not eating
A complete blood count is done to check for infection and low red blood cells in the blood indicating the possibility of a bleed in the colon.
The cause of abdominal pain is usually ascertained through the abdominal x-ray.
A urine analysis is done to check for urinary tract infection.
Digital rectal Exam
This procedure helps to identify any mass or tenderness in the lower pelvic area.
Occult blood test
A fecal occult blood test helps to identify blood in the stool.
A computed tomography helps to identify any rupture in the diverticula or the presence of pocket of infection in the abdomen.
Barium enema x-ray
A barium enema x-ray is a procedure where the barium fills the colon. X-rays of the outline of the inside of the intestines are taken, which can help in confirming the presence of diverticula and subsequent diverticulosis.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy
These tests are done to rule out ulcerative colitis and to identify any bleeding occurring from the intestine.
Diverticulitis by and large will require antibiotics and bowel rest. Occasionally surgery may be required to treat conditions like diverticular abscess and colovesical fistula