Diverticulitis

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Overview

Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that protrude from the intestinal wall. They are most commonly present in the lower part of the intestine, the colon. If they become inflamed or infected, this condition is known as diverticulitis. Most cases are mild and can be treated with getting rest and change in diet, while some may require antibiotics.

Causes

Diverticula, and resulting diverticulitis form in naturally weak areas of the colon. These factors may increase the risk for this disease:

Fistula, abscess formation, intestinal blockage, and peritonitis are some serious complications of diverticulitis.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of this disease include:

  • Constant pain usually in left lower abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually made during attack after ruling out other possible causes. Blood tests, pregnancy exclusion, liver function tests, stool analysis, and CT imaging can help with the diagnosis.

Treatment

For uncomplicated diverticulitis, oral antibiotics, pain relievers, and a liquid diet for a few days may be sufficient. For severe cases, IV antibiotics, drainage of an abscess if one is formed, and surgical options may be utilized.

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