Diverticulitis, also known as colonic diverticulitis, is an inflammation of the diverticula, a small, bulging pocket that forms on the outer lining of the digestive tract or colon. Many people have more than one diverticulum protruding outwards but do not have any pain or problems if not in the infected state.
The protruding pouches can happen anywhere along the digestive tract but more often it happens towards the end of the descending colon, i.e. the sigmoid colon located at the left side of the abdomen.
There is no absolute cause of diverticulitis but 40% population have this disorder due to a genetic problem and remaining due to certain environmental risk factors. Low levels of vitamin D, obesity, smoking, suffering from hypertension or medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of having diverticulitis.
Potential symptoms of this ailment may include:
- Constant and severe pain in the abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Blood in the stool
- Fever and chills
- Abdominal tenderness
Diagnosis and Treatment
The correct diagnosis of diverticulitis is ensured by the doctor or medical practitioner by knowing the entire medical history of the patient and understanding the symptoms properly. The doctor may perform a physical examination to check the tenderness of the abdomen followed by a number of tests which include:
- Colonoscopy to inspect the interior portion of the intestinal tract
- Abdominal ultrasound, abdominal MRI-scan, abdominal CT-scan, or abdominal x-ray to get images for understanding the abnormalities in the intestine
- Blood tests to analyse any signs due to inflammation, anaemia, or liver or kidney problems
- Stool test and urine test to check for any infections
- Pregnancy test to check if the woman is pregnant
- Pelvic exam to check any gynaecological problems in the women, such as premenstrual syndrome
Depending upon the various signs and symptoms and the severity of the disease, the doctor may suggest the following treatment options.
This is generally followed if the ailment is minor.
Home Remedies and Procedures:
- A diet with more liquid content to ease the bowel motion until the intestines or rectum heal.
- Bed rest with minimum activity until the healing incomplete.
- Insertion of a tube or needle to drain the boil or pus.
For more severe or chronic conditions, the doctor may suggest:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Oral Antibiotics or Intravenous antibiotics
- Antispasmodic medications
- Stool softeners
- Bowel resection with colostomy
- Primary bowel resection