What is Diverticulitis?

A diverticulum is a small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall, and diverticula refers to multiple pouches usually found in the lower part of the large intestine. When one or more diverticula become infected or inflamed, a person may suffer diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis can cause many painful symptoms for people. Certain factors may increase an individual’s risk of diverticulitis, including old age, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, or certain medications.

Symptoms and Causes of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis typically occurs as the result of a diverticula tear. Diverticulitis may involve pouches protruding through a person’s colon wall.

Some of the most common symptoms of diverticulitis include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain — For most people, diverticulitis can cause severe pain that may persist on one side of the abdomen for several days.
  • Nausea and Vomiting — Some people who suffer diverticulitis may find themselves throwing up frequently.
  • Constipation or Diarrhea — Some individuals with diverticulitis can experience some marked change in their bowel habits.
  • Fever — It is not uncommon for many people suffering diverticulitis to feel sweat, chills, or other symptoms associated with fevers.
  • Rectal Bleeding — Diverticulitis can result in painless rectal bleeding because of lower gastrointestinal bleeding.

It is vital for any person who suspects they may be suffering from diverticulitis to quickly consult a doctor, as the Mayo Clinic estimates that 25 percent of people who suffer from diverticulitis can experience serious complications. Some of the complications can include a blockage in your colon, an abscess, or peritonitis, which is a medical emergency that involves the rupturing of a pouch and requires immediate medical care.

Other Diverticular Diseases

Diverticulitis is not the only kind of diverticular disease. Diverticulosis is especially common among older people, affecting roughly half of all adults 60 years of age or older.

With diverticulosis, diverticula form in the walls of a person’s digestive tract. Unlike diverticulitis, there are not always symptoms of diverticulosis.

When a person does experience symptoms of diverticulosis, they can be similar to those associated with diverticulosis. Common symptoms may include stomach pain, rectal bleeding, and constipation or diarrhea.

When a person is suffering from diverticulosis, a doctor may recommend a diet that is high in fiber. Supplemental fiber products may also be recommended.

Another type of diverticular disease is diverticular bleeding. Diverticular bleeding is often the result of a lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Diverticular bleeding will usually involve blood appearing in a person’s stool. Bleeding often stops on its own, but a person should see a doctor right away when there is a large amount of blood involved.

Diverticular bleeding often involves acute, painless bleeding in the setting of a known or suspected diverticular disease. Tests that may be used to assess this bleeding can include colonoscopy, radionuclide imaging, or arteriography.

Contact Us

Any stomach issue can cause tremendous discomfort for a person that affects every area of their daily life. GastroCare LI helps people find solutions to diverticulitis, diverticulosis, diverticular bleeding, and multiple other gastrointestinal problems. Call (516) 265-7049 or contact us online if you live in the Long Island or Queens area to schedule an appointment with us today.