Diverticulitis is the inflammation and bulging of diverticula in your body. Diverticula are the small bulging pouches in your body that form the lining of the digestive system. These pouches are mainly present in the lower part of your large intestine called colon.
During diverticulitis, one or more pouches gets inflamed and infected. Diverticulitis generally results in severe abdominal pain and nausea. Diverticulitis generally ranges from mild to chronic and in few severe cases it may require surgery for treatment.
The exact cause of diverticulitis is unknown. According to the doctors a diet with low fiber content can contribute to the formation of sacs in your body. A low fiber diet generally causes digestive disorders like constipation. High fiber diet can help in softening your stool that is easier to pass.
According to most of the doctors, diverticula is caused due to increased colon pressure in your body. Diverticulitis usually occurs when the fecal matter gets accumulated in your divericula and causes infection.
The common signs and symptoms associated with diverticulitis include:
- Pain and discomfort in the lower left of your abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal tenderness
- Gas or bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal bleeding
Risk factor of Diverticulitis
The common factors that can increase the risk of developing diverticulitis include the following:
- Not eating enough fiber
High fiber diet is essential for proper functioning of your digestive system. Low fiber diet can lead to many digestive problems. Low fiber diet can increase the risk of diverticulitis in most of the patients. You can eat fresh fruits and vegetables along with bran products to aid in digestion process.
You must eat 20-25 grams of fiber per day through natural source such as fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber that can help in avoiding the risk of diverticulitis.
Constipation generally puts strain on your muscles during bowel movement thus, increasing the risk of diverticulitis. Once diverticula appear in your body, it is more likely that bacterial infection will accompany and results in inflammation and infection leading to diverticulitis.
Obesity can increase the risk of many major health diseases including diverticulitis. According to researches high BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference increase the risk of diverticulitis and can lead to diverticula bleeding.
According to researchers, old age increases the risk of diverticulitis. As you grow older, your bowel becomes weak resulting it development of diverticula which later gets infected and inflamed.
The treatment of diverticulitis generally depends on your condition and the stage of infection and inflammation in your diverticula. Diverticulitis can either be treated at home or in the hospital depending on your condition.
Diverticulitis Treatment at Home
Mild diverticulitis can be treated at home with the following methods:
- Complete bed rest for few days to weeks till the symptoms subsides
- A liquid diet that helps in normalizing your bowel movements and speed up the healing process
- Antibiotics that helps in preventing the spread of infection and inflammation.
Diverticulitis Treatment at the Hospital
Diverticulitis needs immediate medical attention in case of severe conditions. Any complication associated with diverticulitis resulting in blockage of bowel or an abscess needs to be treated at the hospital. Intravenous antibiotics are generally given in the hospital to minimize the infection. In case of abscess, your doctor will make use of needles to drain and reduce the risk of complications.
When your body doesn’t respond to antibiotics, a surgery will be the last resort to cure diverticulitis. During the surgical procedure, your doctor may suggest to remove the part of your intestine containing the infected diverticula. Complete recovery may take several weeks after surgery.