What is Diverticular Disease?
Diverticulae are abnormal, small outpouchings of the bowel. These are typically asymptomatic, but may become inflamed or infected (diverticulitis) and cause problems when they do.
What are the common symptoms of Diverticulitis?
- Fever or chills
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
What are the causes of Diverticulitis?
Ageing and genetic factors are implicated in the development of diverticulitis, however, diet can also play a role. A diet low in fibre and high in refined foods can increase the risk of diverticulitis.
How is Diverticulitis diagnosed?
Your doctor may perform a variety of tests to make the diagnosis. These may include, CT scan, X-rays or a colonoscopy.
How is Diverticulitis treated?
A mild diverticulitis episode may be treated with stool softeners, dietary modification, antibiotics, and antispasmodic medications.
With a more severe infection or a bowel perforation, hospitalisation is typically recommended for more intensive treatment, including with intravenous antibiotics. In some cases, drainage infected abscesses may be recommended, as well as resting of the intestinal tract by performing a temporary colostomy.
In the setting of several attacks of acute diverticulitis, removal of the affected segment of bowel may be indicated (once you are free of symptoms) to prevent further attacks. Similarly, you may also need surgery if intravenous antibiotics do not effectively treat a severe acute episode of diverticulitis.