Diseases

Diverticulitis

Intestinal disease

Diverticula are bulges in the wall of the esophagus, small intestine or large intestine. In case of diverticulitis, one or more diverticula are inflamed. This occurs when food particles remain in the diverticula to rot. Most people with diverticulitis may suffer from fever, nausea, abdominal distension and abdominal pain. The pain occurs suddenly or gradually.


Cause

Diverticula probably arise on weaknesses in the intestinal wall, that will bulge under increased pressure. Low-fiber diet can play a role in the development of diverticula, resulting in harder stool. Hard stool remains longer in the intestine and bowel movements will be more difficult because of constipation. Insufficient exercise can lead to constipation. Hard stools cause an increased pressure in the intestine. Diverticula can get infected when stools remain in the bulge. Bacteria can quickly multiply, increasing the chance of infection. Diverticulitis is not contagious.


Symptoms

Diverticulitis usually causes no problems. Some people have symptoms, such as vague abdominal pain, abdominal cramps and sometimes constipation and/or diarrhea and some mucus from the anus. When diverticula get infected, the following signs and symptoms may occur:


Diagnosis

Diverticula are often discovered by accident. Diverticula and diverticulitis are usually determined by means of one of the following examinations:


Treatment

It is normally not necessary to treat diverticula. Though it is important to ensure that the stools remains smooth. Then it’s less likely that the stools remain in the bulges. The treatment of diverticulitis includes a diet and sometimes medications. Severe cases require hospitalization or surgery.


Prognosis

The prognosis is often good. The earlier a person starts with a high-fiber diet, the better the forecasts. When diverticulitis is not (properly) treated, the intestine can burst at the site of the inflammation. This is called an intestinal perforation. The risk of an intestinal perforation is higher when a person has a lot of inflamed diverticula in the large intestine. An intestinal perforation can be very dangerous, because the stool can get into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a peritonitis. An intestinal perforation and/or peritonitis cause acute, severe pain, usually in combination with high fever.


Considerations


Facts


See also

Abscess

Constipation

Colonoscopy

CT Scan

Medical Ultrasound

Puncture

Sigmoidoscopy

Fiber

Physical Exercise

Smoking

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