Diverticulitis is an issue that arises if there are diverticula in the intestine. It is important to note that diverticula are miniature pouches or weakened sites that bulge from the lining of the intestinal wall.
They appear as small-sized thumbs that poke out of the side of the bowel. Once they form in the intestines, it is called as diverticulosis. When the pouches are inflamed, it is called as diverticulitis. The risk for developing these pouches increases as one starts to age.
What is the cause?
The usual cause of diverticulitis is low fiber in the diet. Remember that fiber is a component of vegetables, fruits and grains that could not be digested by the body.
The fiber helps in making the stools soft and easy to pass out to prevent constipation. Once an individual has constipation, the muscles strain to move out stool that is hardened. The increased pressure causes the weakened sites in the colon to bulge out and turn into diverticula.
What are the signs?
The usual signs of diverticulitis include the following:
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Fever and chills
- Severe cramps in the lower left side that comes and goes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or aching sensation on the lower left side of the abdomen
- Rectal bleeding
Management of diverticulitis
If an individual experience several episodes of acute diverticulitis, hospitalization is necessary. The treatment might involve intravenous fluids, antibiotics or nasogastric suction.
In case the episodes are frequent or severe, surgical intervention is needed.
There are 2 forms of surgery that can be carried out of fix the problem:
- Colon resection
It is important to note that diverticulitis is generally mild and responds well to dietary changes and antibiotics.
- If cramping is present, it is recommended to place a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the stomach.
- For diarrhea, provide the individual with clear liquids and avoid any solid foods. The individual must rest until the diarrhea ceases. Once the symptoms settle, eat bland, soft, low-fiber foods initially.
- The drugs prescribed by the doctor must be taken as instructed.