What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticula are found in the colon that look like small pouches. When these diverticula get infected or inflamed, a condition known as diverticulitis occurs. In short, diverticulitis is known as the inflammation of the diverticula. This condition results in colon bleeding. An individual with diverticulitis may experience pain in the abdomen and other symptoms that occurs in the digestive system. Typically, the condition is taken care of by antibiotics and medications that fight off pain.
Health experts blame the low-fiber diet as one of the culprits why diverticulitis occurs. Fiber is known to help in the digestion process. It helps make the stool moist, bulky and less difficult to move past the colon. In the absence of fiber, the colon will have difficult time in moving the stool. When this happens more pressure is needed by the colon. This added pressure is known to produce diverticula pouches.
Diverticula become small depositories of stools and other small food parts broken down through digestion. Diverticula trap the stool and small food particles and therefore will result to inflammation. Inflammation happens due to the bacteria contained in the food particles and as well as with the stool. Diverculitis follows as the diverticula get inflamed. Several symptoms can be felt by those with diverticulitis such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, pain in the lower left part of the belly, nausea, appetite loss, chills and fever, and vomiting.
Diverticulitis can be life-threatening when it gets complicated by the tearing of the colon wall. This condition is also known as peritonitis. Peritonitis occurs when the infection gets severe that the colon wall comes into a collapse. Extreme abdominal pain may be felt and a person suffering from peritonitis must be given immediate medical attention. If not given immediate treatment, the person with peritonitis may lose his or her life.
There are known treatments for diverticulitis. In fact, if the condition is not severe, home treatment can be administered. For pain and cramps, hot compress or over-the-counter drugs may be taken. However, if the pain gets intolerable, a person must visit his or her doctor immediately. Severely infected diverticula is typically prescribed with antibiotics and pain killers.
Since diverticulitis are known to be caused by a low-fiber diet, people must learn to take a fiber-rich diet. Adding more fruits and vegetables in their diet helps prevent the formation of diverticula. Drinking a lot of water also helps prevent formation of diverticula. On the other hand, if the diverticulitis attack becomes more frequent, a person must consult a doctor for further diagnosis. A surgical removal of the colon may be recommended. Colectomy or partial removal of some parts of the colon that are infected may be administered.
The other parts of the colon that remain will be connected together again. The surgery may be multi-session depending on how severe the infection. On some severe cases, a colostomy may be performed. Colostomy is a surgery where an opening will be made for the large intestine and the skin surface. Doctors recommend people to take fiber-rich diet in order to avoid getting diverticulitis.