Understanding Diverticulitis - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Understanding Diverticulitis

December 18, 2014

Diverticulitis is a painful condition that develops when small pouches along the colon, called diverticula, become inflamed. The symptoms may last for only a few hours, or they may persist for days. Some patients have problems with chronic diverticulitis that go away only to flare up again. If you’re diagnosed with diverticulitis, you’ll need to follow your colon doctor’s treatment plan and adjust your diet to avoid future occurrences. Here’s a look at what you need to know about this condition.

What Causes Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis outbreaks occur when feces become trapped in diverticula, causing inflammation and infection. Why diverticula form in the first place is a mystery, but colon doctors suspect that eating a low-fiber diet allows pressure to build up in the colon, and that pressure causes diverticula to develop. Uncoordinated colon movements may also contribute to the formation of diverticula.

What Are the Symptoms?

Diverticulitis can cause several uncomfortable symptoms. Patients experience pain and cramps in the abdomen, bloating and gas, fever, nausea, and diarrhea or constipation. Symptoms can become worse if an opening—or fistula—occurs along the colon because of diverticulitis. A fistula can allow stool to pass through the vagina or urethra or cause an infection in the abdominal cavity.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. If your case is mild, you may get relief by switching to a liquid diet for a few days and then increasing your fiber intake. If colon pain makes it difficult to eat or drink, you may be hospitalized to receive antibiotics and IV nutrition. If you have recurring flare-ups, you may need colon surgery. You can reduce your likelihood of future bouts of diverticulitis by increasing your fiber intake and getting enough fluids throughout the day.

Let the colon doctors of Colorectal Surgical Associates help you overcome diverticulitis with a range of treatments, including minimally invasive colon surgery. If you’re experiencing diverticulitis symptoms, make an appointment today with one of our Houston colon doctors by calling (713) 469-3256.  

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Source: Houston Colon Doctor