Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
What is Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis is a condition that develops when pouches, called diverticula, form in the wall of the colon.
In diverticulosis, the pouches in the colon wall do not cause symptoms. Diverticulosis may not be discovered until tests are done to find the cause of a different medical problem or during a screening exam.
What are the symptoms of diverticular disease?
Each individual may experience symptoms differently. Some of the more common symptoms may include:
- Diverticulosis. Diverticulosis may not cause any discomfort or symptoms, but could include mild cramps, bloating, and constipation. These symptoms may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, or other problems, and do not always indicate diverticulosis.
- Diverticulitis. The most common symptom is abdominal pain and the most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. When infection is the cause, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation may also occur.
- The symptoms of diverticular disease may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
How is Diverticulitis Diagnosed?
In addition a complete medical history and physical examination, your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:
- rectal examination to feel for tenderness, blockage, or blood.
- stool sample
- abdominal ultrasound
- computerized tomography scan
- barium enema
- flexible sigmoidoscopy
How is Diverticulitis Treated?
Specific treatment for diverticular disease will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Options for treatment may include:
- Increasing dietary fiber intake
- Medication to control pain, inflammation and/or muscle spasms
- Resting the colon, with liquid diet and bed rest
- Surgery may be needed in severe cases