Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What is Diverticulitis?

People with unhealthy eating habits are most likely to form a pouch or sac in the colon or large intestine. This condition is called diverticulum. It escalates to a condition called diverticula when the pouches multiply.

While majority of the people who develop diverticulosis don’t feel any symptom, some may actually have constant pain and discomfort. Nonetheless, doctors urge everyone to have themselves checked to see if there are problems in the digestive tract.

So, when does it become diverticulitis? This happens when infection starts and spreads slowly in the colon area. The more advanced the infection is, the more imperative surgery becomes.

What Causes Diverticulitis?

Doctors still can’t conclude how diverticulitis comes about. They can only assume that this stems from a bad diet. If you don’t get enough fiber into your diet, passing stools becomes hard. You don’t go to the toilet as often as you should. Thus, food stays inside the intestines and hardens over time. Removing* these requires the intestinal muscles to work harder. The pressure may be what causes the sacs to develop.

These sacs then cause deformities. While it’s not entirely too dangerous, over time, the problem escalates, especially when you don’t make changes. Aside from intestinal blockage, pus may form. The infection slowly spreads until you feel the painful symptoms. Most individuals assume that they suffer from heartburn or ulcers. Their plan of attack usually involves taking antacids and pain medication. While this may mask some of the symptoms, it doesn’t take care of the root cause of the problem. In fact, you may need more than just a round of antibiotics to cure* it. In many cases, you’ll need actual surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Diverticulitis?

The disease exhibits a number of symptoms. Some individuals experience one or two on the list, while others feel all. So, if you notice any of the following, you need to have yourself checked by a specialist:

diverticulitis
  • Irregular bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Sharp pains in the side
  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding

As you can see, it’s easy to assume that you may suffer from hyperacidity because the symptoms closely resemble each other. It’s only upon closer inspection can your doctor tell you what the problem really is.

Who Gets Diverticulitis?

The disease strikes anyone who doesn’t get enough fiber into his or her body. However, doctors and specialists have found that most of its victims are people nearing 50. The numbers increase* with age. In fact, it’s said that around 50% percent of individuals over 60 have developed diverticula. The number is startling. In fact, this should alarm you early on because you need to make changes now while you still can. As with any medical condition, prevention is still better* than the cure*.

How is Diverticulitis Diagnosed?

Because many of its patients are asymptomatic, doctors don’t spot the problem until it’s advanced. You can have yourself diagnosed by requesting for a colonoscopy for x-ray. This is when doctors can take a closer look at your intestines for complications or signs of trouble.

What’s the Treatment for Diverticulitis?

The treatments vary from one patient to the next, depending on the extent of the disease. Simple cases are often addressed with antibiotics. The pain and discomfort go away when the infection subsides. As for those who have developed multiple sacs with a bad case of pus surrounding the colon area, doctors urge that they go through surgery immediately. After which, they’ll be prescribed a round of medicines to further aid* in the healing* process.

Whatever stage you may be in, the number one weapon would be fiber. You’ll need to change your diet and include more fruits and vegetables in your meals so that you don’t suffer in the future once again.

How Can You Prevent Diverticulitis?

Prevention can be implemented by doing the following:

  • Regular health checks
  • Healthy diet

These two things will be enough to prevent the disease from taking over your body. It may sound too simple, but it’s harder to change your eating habits when you’ve been so used to junk, fast foods, and processed goods. It’s all a matter of discipline from your end. The stronger* your will power is, the better* things will be for you. Remember, 80% of your immune system is found in your digestive tract. A good meal plan makes a world of difference.

Conclusion

Never assume that you won’t suffer from diverticulitis. Make the decision to start eating right because you’ll see how much better* things will be for you in the future.

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Author

Expert Author : Lisiana Carter (Consumer Health Digest)

Lisiana Carter has been a freelance health writer for over ten years having written books, blogs and articles. She is the author of a number of websites and teaches people how to enter the freelance writing field.