Diverticulitis causes inflamed pouches in the walls of your colon, and it can be a very serious condition. The Centers for Digestive Health, with offices in Highland, Merrillville, Gary, Dyer, Crown Point, and DeMotte, Indiana, offers effective treatment for both diverticulitis and the earlier form of the disease, diverticulosis. Call the office in your area or arrange your appointment online.
Diverticulosis is a condition in which you develop tiny pouches within your sigmoid (lower) colon. These pouches push against weakened areas in your colon wall.
Many people don't experience any diverticulosis symptoms, but in some cases, a diverticulum may grow badly inflamed or infected. Then, the condition becomes diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is a serious condition because it can cause significant colon problems and put your health or even your life at risk.
Around one-quarter of people with diverticulitis experience serious complications, including:
A perforation is a hole within a diverticulum.
Peritonitis is an infection or severe inflammation within the lining of the inner abdominal wall. In many cases, leaking stool or pus from a diverticulum perforation causes peritonitis.
A fistula is a tiny abnormal tunnel through the body tissue. Diverticulitis can cause fistulas that run between the large intestine and bladder, between different sections of your large intestine, or between the large intestine and vagina in females.
An abscess occurs when pus accumulates within diverticula.
Diverticulitis can cause scar tissue buildup in your large intestine. Eventually, this can partially or even completely block normal stool movement.
All of these complications can cause many serious or even potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Diverticulitis can cause symptoms such as:
Diverticulitis symptoms typically come on very suddenly. However, you may have pain that gradually increases over a period of days, as well. If you have possible diverticulitis symptoms, call the Centers for Digestive Health right away for guidance.
Diagnosis includes symptom assessment, a physical exam, and specific tests to rule out other problems. You typically have blood and urine tests as well as a CT scan, barium enema, or colonoscopy so your doctor can check for diverticula and signs of damage.
Treatment for diverticulitis can vary with the severity of your disease. If you have diverticulitis without complications, you most likely take antibiotics and follow a temporary liquid diet or a low residue eating plan to rest your bowels.
If you have severe diverticulitis, particularly with complications like abscesses, perforation, peritonitis, fistula, or intestinal obstruction, you likely need IV antibiotics. You could require surgery to remove the diseased portion of your intestine and reconnect the healthy tissue.
In the most severe cases, you may need a temporary colostomy, in which stool drains into an external bag while your intestine heals. Then, your surgeon can later reconnect the intestine when you adequately heal.
The Centers for Digestive Health offers all-encompassing diverticulosis and diverticulitis care, so reach out by phone or through the online scheduler.