Diverticulitis Disease & its Signs
Diverticulitis is a disease that form small outpouchings in your large bowel, they are much more rampant in patients over age 50, this condition is known as diverticulosis, and usually causes no symptoms. Diverticulitis occurs when one of those pouches becomes inflamed and or infected. This most commonly involves a lower part of your bowel called the sigmoid colon.
When a pouch is inflamed, it usually causes pain and tenderness in the lower left abdomen.
If left untreated, it can worsen and lead to an abscess or bowel obstruction. It can also create a hole in your colon that connects to other structures, such as your bladder or other parts of your intestines. This connection is called a fistula. Sometimes, inflammation irritates nearby blood vessels and causes bleeding into the large bowel. This is rare and will usually present with a large amount of red or maroon color stool. Repeated episodes of diverticulitis can cause scarring which can narrow the large bowel and cause an obstruction.
Risk factors of Diverticulitis
Aging: The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age.
Obesity: Being seriously overweight increases your odds of developing diverticulitis.
Smoking: People who smoke cigarettes are more likely than non-smokers to experience diverticulitis.
Lack of exercise: Vigorous exercise appears to lower your risk of diverticulitis.
Diet high in animal fat and low in fiber: A low-fiber diet in combination with a high intake of animal fat seems to increase risk, although the role of low fiber alone isn’t clear.
Certain medications: Several drugs are associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis, including steroids, opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Causes of Diverticulitis Disease
Although not proven, the main cause of the diverticular disease is believed to be a low-fiber diet. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest.
Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, jelly-like texture in the intestines.
Insoluble fiber passes almost unchanged through the intestines.
Both kinds of fiber help make stools soft and easy to pass, which helps to prevent constipation.
Constipation is the main cause of increased pressure in the colon, making the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. The excess pressure caused by the straining makes the weak spots in the colon bulge out, forming diverticula.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
When you have diverticulitis, the inflamed pouches most often cause pain in the lower-left side of your abdomen. The pain is usually severe and comes on suddenly, though it can also be mild and get worse over several days. The intensity of the pain can change over time.
Abdominal pain or tenderness
Change in bowel habits
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Although some of these symptoms overlap with other gastrointestinal problems, including peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and the aforementioned risk factors apply to you.
Complications of Diverticulitis
Abscesses, collections of pus from the infection, may form around the infected diverticula. If these go through the intestinal wall, you could get peritonitis. This infection can be fatal. You’ll need treatment right away.
Perforation or tear in the intestinal wall can lead to abscesses and infection because of waste leaking into the abdominal cavity.
Scarring can occur to form a stricture or blockage of the intestine.
Also fistulas can form if an infected diverticulum gets nearby organ and forms a connection. This most often happens between the large intestine and the bladder. It can lead to a kidney infection. Fistulas can also form between the large intestine and either the skin or the vagina.
Severe bleeding may lead to one needing a blood transfusion in the process.
Prevention of Diverticulitis
Regular Exercise: Exercise promotes normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside your colon. Endeavor to practice no less than 30 minutes on generally days.
Consumption of more fiber: High-fiber nourishments, for example, food is grown from the ground and entire grains, relax squander material and enable it to go all the more rapidly through your colon. This diminishes pressure inside your stomach related tract.
Taking much more of fluids: Fiber works by engrossing water and expanding the delicate, cumbersome waste in your colon. In any case, in the event that you don’t drink enough fluid to supplant what’s consumed, fiber can be constipating.