How Can Diverticulosis Be Prevented
Having regular bowel movements and avoiding constipation and straining is important to prevent diverticular disease and reduce its complications.
To accomplish this:
- Eat more fiber: Fiber pulls more water into stool, making it bulkier, softer and easier to move and move more quickly through your colon.
- Drink plenty of water: Eating more fiber absorbs more water, so youll need to increase the amount of water you drink to keep stool soft and on the move. Many healthcare providers suggest drinking half your bodys weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water each day.
- Exercise daily: Physical movement helps food pass through your intestinal system. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days if you can.
What Is The Medical Treatment For Diverticulitis And Diverticulosis
Treatment for Diverticulosis Symptoms
Diverticulosis with symptoms is usually treated as follows. This therapy is designed to soften stools and help them pass faster, which removes the conditions that cause diverticula in the first place.
- High-fiber diet for diverticulitis
- Clear fluids
Treatment for Diverticulitis
Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition.
- Simple cases can be treated by a health care professional at his or her office, and by a patient following a high fiber diet.
- Treatment for uncomplicated cases usually consists of antibiotics and bowel rest. This usually involves 2-3 days of bowel rest, taking in only clear fluids , so the colon may heal without having to work.
- Complicated cases typically involve severe pain, fever, or bleeding. If an individual has any of these symptoms, he or she will probably be admitted to the hospital. Treatment consists of IV or oral antibiotics, bowel rest, and possibly surgery.
Diverticulitis And Diverticulosis Facts
- Diverticulosis is a condition that describes small pouches in the wall of the digestive tract that occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract bulges through weak spots in the outer layer. When these diverticula become inflamed, that is called diverticulitis.
- One of the main causes of diverticulosis is a diet low in fiber.
- Many people with diverticulosis have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they can include:
- Pain in the abdomen
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What Are The Symptoms Of Diverticulitis
You can have the pouches and not know it. The diverticula are usually painless and cause few symptoms, if any. But you might notice:
- Cramping on the left side of your abdomen that goes away after you pass gas or have a bowel movement
- Bright red blood in your poop
Diverticulitis symptoms are more noticeable and include severe abdominal pain and fever.
Diverticulitis can be acute or chronic. With the acute form, you may have one or more severe attacks of infection and inflammation. In chronic diverticulitis, inflammation and infection may go down but never clear up completely. Over time, the inflammation can lead to a bowel obstruction, which may cause constipation, thin stools, diarrhea, bloating, and belly pain. If the obstruction continues, abdominal pain and tenderness will increase, and you may feel sick to your stomach or throw up.
Major Complexities Of Diverticulitis: Can Diverticulitis Cause Hip And Leg Pain
Before knowing that can diverticulitis cause hip, back, and leg pain? knowing its complications is essential.
It is suggested that almost 10-25% of people suffering from diverticulosis develop diverticulitis out of those, around 10% are presented with certain complications that are as follows
- Abscess: Collection of pus in the diverticula known as an abscess.
- Perforations: Tiny tears in the bowel walls lead to bowel leakage into the abdominal cavity.
- Intestinal Blockages: Severe constipation occurs that can only be treated by surgery.
- Fistula: An abnormal connection between the colon and the small intestine, bladder, or vagina.
- Peritonitis: Infection and inflammation of the abdominal cavity through perforations.
However, these complications can worsen the pain suffered by the patients. Read on to learn how diverticulitis is related to back, hip, and leg pain!
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Favorite Site For Online Support
Diverticulitis can be overwhelming and frustrating, so there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone with this illness. Local in-person support isnt always an option. But with an online group, you can lean on others for diet and medication advice, or simply for emotional support, anytime of the day or night.
Diverticulitis Resources We Love
The AGA describes itself as a trusted voice in the gastrointestinal community. The group’s website is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for general information on diverticulitis. Glean insights on getting tested and potential complications, and download its comprehensive patient info PDF to your phone, tablet, or computer for quick reference at your next doctors appointment.
Diverticulitis can have a huge impact on your life, and its the GI Societys aim to make living with this condition easier. Its website offers general information about diverticulitis as well as practical tips, such as managing diverticular disease as a young person. Read advice on recommended fiber intake and physical activity, or check out the Q& A section or videos.
The ACG is committed to enhancing patient care based on the most recent research available. On its site, youll learn about diverticulitis causes, treatment options, prevention, and more. It offers a wealth of multimedia resources, too. This includes podcasts, videos, brochures, and a Find a Gastroenterologist search tool.
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Complications Associated With Diverticulitis
Simple diverticulitis accounts for 75 percent of cases. Treatments take place at home using antibiotics and lifestyle changes.
Complicated diverticulitis is more severe and accounts for 25 percent of cases. In most cases, you will need hospitalization and surgery. Complications associated with diverticulitis can include the following:
What Happens In Diverticulitis
The exact reason why the diverticula become inflamed is unclear. It appears that one or more diverticula becomes blocked with feces or undigested food. Mucus normally secreted by the colon lining accumulates in the now obstructed pouch . Colonic bacteria are also trapped within the blocked diverticulum and a bacterial overgrowth occurs.
Eventually this causes erosion of the colon wall which can culminate in a rupture of the diverticulum. Small perforations are often walled off by surroundng fat tissue but larger tears can lead to abscess formation and peritonitis. The exact cause of diverticulitis has also not been conclusively identified. However, it is associated with constipation. Obesity and a low-fiber diet, which are other contributing factors to constipation, may also be involved.
Read more on diverticulitis.
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Preventing Diverticular Disease And Diverticulitis
Eating a high-fibre diet may help prevent diverticular disease, and should improve your symptoms.
Your diet should be balanced and include at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, plus whole grains. Adults should aim to eat 18g to 30g of fibre a day, depending on their height and weight. Your GP can provide a more specific target, based on your individual height and weight.
It’s recommended that you gradually increase your fibre intake over the course of a few weeks. This will help prevent side effects associated with a high-fibre diet, such as bloating and flatulence . Drinking plenty of fluids will also help prevent side effects.
If you have established diverticular disease, it may be suggested that you avoid eating nuts, corn and seeds due to the possibility that they could block the diverticular openings and cause diverticulitis. People usually find out themselves if these foods cause symptoms. Probiotics have also been recommended, but evidence is lacking. Overall, there is a lack of good quality scientific evidence on how to prevent diverticular disease.
Discerning Diverticulitis From Stomach Pain
Diverticular disease, more commonly referred to as diverticulosis, is an ailment that will plagued half of all Americans before the age of 60. Past that age, there is nearly a 100% chance that a person will develop this disease. Despite its pervasive rate of development, only a fraction of people exhibit any sort of symptom associated with diverticulosis.
Diverticulosis is a medical term used to describe diverticula, pockets found along the wall of a persons colon. Diverticulitis is what happens when these pockets succumb to inflammation or an infection. As previously mentioned, most people who have diverticular disease show no symptoms they are dealing with the inactive phase, known as diverticulosis. If someone happens to be dealing with active diverticular disease, she or he may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
People may or may not know if they have diverticular disease. For those who know they have diverticula, it is important to see a healthcare provider if symptoms seem like they could be from diverticulitis.
However, because most people dont know if they have diverticula, it may be difficult to decide when to see a healthcare provider. Sharp abdominal pain or bleeding from the rectum are always reasons to seek care as soon as possible.
When the symptoms are more subtle, it could be more challenging to know its time to see a healthcare provider. However, if constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, or fever have gone on for more than a few days, thats also a time to talk to a healthcare provider.
Sharp abdominal pain, fainting, feeling confused, bleeding that doesnt stop, or being unable to keep any food or water down are reasons to get care right away in an emergency department.
Its important to have diverticulitis evaluated and treated. Without treatment, there could be complications such as anemia from blood loss, perforation , peritonitis , abscesses , or bowel obstruction.
When Should You Call A Doctor For Diverticulitis
A person should see a health care professional if he or she has any of the following symptoms, which may indicate a serious condition:
- persistent abdominal pain, often in the lower-left area of the abdomen
- persistent unexplained fevers
- persistent or recurring urinary tract infection.
Any time a person has bleeding from the rectum, he or she should see a health-care professional as soon as possible.
- Seek medical care even if the bleeding stops on its own.
- Bleeding may be a sign of diverticulitis or other serious diseases.
- If there is a lot of blood or a steady flow of blood, go to a hospital emergency department immediately.
The following symptoms suggest a complication and warrant an immediate visit to an emergency department:
- worsening abdominal pain
- persistent fever with abdominal pain
- vomiting so severe that food or liquids cannot be tolerated
- swelling or distention of the abdomen
- persistent constipation for an extended period of time or
- severe pain or other symptoms that you had before when you had diverticulitis.
A person should not attempt to drive themselves to receive medical help, they should have someone else drive them, or call 911 for emergency medical transport.
A high-fiber diet is the mainstay of diverticulosis and diverticulitis prevention.
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What Is Diverticulosis And Diverticulitis
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are two conditions that occur in your large intestine . Together they are known as diverticular disease. Both share the common feature of diverticula. Diverticula are one or more pockets or bulges that form in the wall of your colon.
Diverticula are like expanded areas or bubbles that form when you fill the inner tube of a bike tire with too much air. The increase in pressure from too much air being pumped into the inner tube causes the bubble to form where the rubber is the weakest. Similarly, an increase in pressure inside the colon causes pockets or bulges to form in weakened areas of your colons walls.
Diverticula can range from pea-size to much larger. Although they can form anywhere in the inner lining of your colon, they are most commonly found in your lower left side, in the S-shaped segment of your colon called the sigmoid colon.
Chronic Symptoms Of Diverticula
Some people have chronic symptoms related to diverticula, even when diverticulitis is not present. Chronic symptoms may include
Other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, cause similar symptoms, so having these symptoms may not mean you have diverticular disease. If you have these symptoms, see your doctor.
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Ct Pneumocolon Or Colonography
Another technique for confirming the presence of diverticula is a computerised tomography . A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.
As with a colonoscopy, you will be given a laxative to clear out your bowels before you have the CT scan.
Unlike a regular CT scan, the colonography scan involves a tube being inserted into your rectum, which is used to pump some air up into your rectum. The CT scan is then taken with you lying on your front, and again lying on your back.
You may need to have an injection of contrast dye before the scan, but this is not always necessary.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease recommends eating 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed per day. For example, if you follow a 2,000 calorie diet every day, you should try to eat 28 grams of fiber each day. Every person, regardless of whether they have diverticula, should try to consume this much fiber every day. Fiber is the part of plant foods that cant be digested.
Symptoms Of Diverticular Disease And Diverticulitis
Symptoms of diverticular disease include:
- tummy pain, usually in your lower left side, that tends to come and go and gets worse during or shortly after eating
- occasionally, blood in your poo
If your diverticula become infected and inflamed , you may suddenly:
- get constant, more severe tummy pain
- have a high temperature
- get mucus or blood in your poo, or bleeding from your bottom
Signs Of A Diverticulitis Flare
Diverticula probably wont cause any symptoms. In some cases, however, diverticula will get inflamed and cause problems, which is called diverticulitis.
Some of the signs and symptoms of a diverticulitis flare-up are:
- Abdominal pain on the lower left side which feels achy or crampy
- Abdominal tenderness
- Pain or burning during urination
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Diagnosis Of Diverticular Disease
- medical history including dietary habits
- physical examination including rectal examination
- colonoscopy a slender flexible tube inserted into the anus so that the doctor can look at the entire length of the large intestine
- barium enema a special contrasting dye flushed into the bowel via the anus and x-rays are taken
- CT scan to detect abscesses outside the bowel lining
- blood tests to check for signs of infection
- stool tests to check for the presence of blood in the faeces or the presence of infections, which may mimic the symptoms of diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
What Are The More Serious Complications Of Diverticulitis
More serious complications of diverticulitis include:
- Collection of pus in the pelvis where the diverticulum has ruptured
- Colonic obstruction due to extensive inflammation
- Generalized infection of the abdominal cavity
- Bleeding into the colon
A diverticulum can rupture, and the bacteria within the colon can spread into the tissues surrounding the colon. This is then called diverticulitis. Constipation or diarrhea also may occur with the inflammation. A collection of pus can develop around the ruptured diverticulum, leading to the formation of an abscess, usually in the pelvis. Inflammation surrounding the colon also can lead to colonic obstruction. Infrequently, a diverticulum ruptures freely into the abdominal cavity causing a life-threatening infection called bacterial peritonitis. On rare occasions, the inflamed diverticulum can erode into the urinary bladder, causing bladder infection and passing of intestinal gas in the urine. Even more rarely the diverticulum can rupture into the vagina.
Can Diverticulitis Cause Back Pain
Sometimes, your diverticulitis might cause a sharp aggravating pain in your lower back, which can be solid and frustrating. It can be intense and exhausting, but why does diverticulitis cause back pain?
One complication of diverticulitis is intestinal blockages, which can cause severe constipation. It can ultimately lead to back pain, which can also be due to other complications like kidney stones or orthopedic problems related to back pains.
Conditions Commonly Mistaken For Diverticulitis
Some of the symptoms of diverticulitis can be common with other conditions. For that reason, its important to be seen by a healthcare provider for abdominal pain and especially for bleeding from the rectum.
If its already known that a person has diverticula, diverticulitis might be suspected right away. But its important to know what is causing the symptoms so it can be treated and complications prevented.
Some of the conditions that might also be considered when diagnosing diverticulitis are:
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Favorite Resources For Diet Advice
Not sure what to eat with diverticulitis? While your doctor might give recommendations and tips, it can be difficult to remember everything you’ve heard. No worries the Mayo Clinic does a superb job highlighting foods that are safe to eat with diverticulitis.
We can’t talk about diverticular disease without including the NIDDK. Even if you know the benefit of consuming fiber to manage diverticulosis or prevent another episode of diverticulitis, you may not know how much to eat. The NIDDK provides a breakdown of the best fiber-rich foods to consume, as well as how much to eat each day.
For more on how to add more fiber to your diet, check out our article.