Diverticulitis is the inflammation of small pouches in the intestine. It can be associated with infection, obstruction, bleeding, or perforation of the bowel. The typical presentation is abdominal pain on the left lower side with belly distention and fever. Patients may also experience nausea, weight loss, or bowel changes such as constipation or diarrhea. Doctors believe that a low-fiber diet contributes to diverticulitis. This condition becomes more prevalent with age.
When the bowel is inflamed, the white blood cell count may be elevated. Doctors can measure a patient’s white blood cell count by a simple blood test in the office. A CAT-Scan captures an image of the bowel and can be used to establish the diagnosis, asses the severity of the disease, and exclude any complications. Antibiotics are sometimes used for infection. If there is a complication such as tear or perforation then hospitalization may be required. Approximately 15-30% of admitted patients require surgery. Increasing dietary fiber, exercise, weight loss (if obese), and smoking cessation may help to prevent reoccurrences of diverticulitis. Sometimes a colonoscopy may be needed 4-6 weeks after resolution of symptoms for individuals with complicated disease or age appropriate screening.
American Family Physician. 2013; 87(9):612-620.The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.