Diverticulosis and diverticulitis affect large numbers of people in the United States, with around half of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 70 having diverticulosis. Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, are highly experienced specialists in disorders of the intestines. If you have any symptoms of diverticulosis or diverticulitis, call the office today, or book an appointment online.
Diverticulosis is a condition of small pouches or balloon-like pouches that typically develop in the weakest part of the colon wall, but may be seen in other areas as well. Diverticulosis is typically asymptomatic, but if the pouches (diverticula) become infected they can cause the abdominal pain, bloating, fever, and chills of diverticulitis.
Diverticulosis, once infected and leading to diverticulitis, may result as infrequent abdominal spasms, particularly in the left lower quadrant, but can occur any place in the colon. It often results in abdominal pain, fevers, chills, and changes in bowel habits. Bleeding can also occur with diverticulosis, and this may be significant in volume, but typically stops on its own with approximately 70% of the cases.
Patients may require hospitalization due to the volume of blood loss from a diverticular bleed. Diverticulitis, on the other hand, typically does not have associated bleeding but usually has intense abdominal pain associated with fever and chills. Diverticulitis may be complicated by perforation of the colon or abscess formation, which may require surgical intervention.
Most patients with diverticulosis don’t know they have diverticula unless they’re seen on endoscopy or an imaging study, such as a barium enema or a CT scan.
The finding of diverticulosis is empiric. Stool softeners and a high fiber diet with increased fluids and the avoidance of constipation are two factors in trying to prevent diverticulosis. Unfortunately, genetic factors play a major role in the development of diverticulosis.
Once diverticulitis occurs, typically antibiotics are required with temporary bowel rest. Surgery may be needed if a patient develops complications of diverticulitis, such as perforation or abscess formation, or if the patient has frequent, recurrent bouts of diverticulitis.
If you have diverticular bleeding that won’t stop, you may need colon resection surgery, which involves removing the affected length of colon and reattaching the ends.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of diverticulosis or diverticulitis, call Edmunds Gastroenterology today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edmunds, or book an appointment online.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.