What You Need to Know About Diverticular Disease
Diverticular disease is a digestive condition that affects the large intestine (bowel). It is characterized by the development of small bulges or pockets in the lining of the intestine, which can cause symptoms such as pain in the lower tummy. It is more likely to develop in people who do not get enough fiber in their diet. Occasionally, until tests are performed, people are unaware they have the condition. Many times, Diverticulosis is relatively pain-free. In some cases, the bowel can become inflamed or infected, leading to a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are known as diverticular.
People over 40 and males are more susceptible to the disease. Other factors that may expose you include.
- Consuming food that has zero or low fiber
- Eating a lot of red meat and fat
- Failing to exercise
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
The disease’s primary cause is not eating enough fiber, which causes a buildup of waste in the colon and puts extra strain on the colon walls, resulting in little pockets forming in weak areas of the colon. Scientists are still researching the leading chain of the disease.
Symptoms and Signs Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
It is rare to have symptoms when you have Diverticulosis, but below are the symptoms of diverticulitis.
- Tummy pain, usually in the lower left side, worsens during or shortly after eating.
- Constipation, diarrhea, or both.
- Occasionally, blood in poo.
- Constant and more severe tummy pain.
- High temperature.
- Mucus or blood in poo or bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding).
- The feeling of fullness in the abdomen.
- Abdominal tenderness or cramping.
- Difficulty passing gas.
Diverticulitis can cause severe, potentially life-threatening complications if left untreated, such as abscesses, fistulas, perforations, and sepsis.
How is Diverticulosis diagnosed?
Commonly people with Diverticulosis are hard to know whether they have it due to zero symptoms; as a result, it is typically discovered incidentally during tests conducted for other health concerns. Diagnosis may be confirmed through imaging tests such as a CT scan, an endoscopic exam, or stool tests to check for the prod in the stool. It is crucial to schedule a visit with your healthcare practitioner if you are exhibiting symptoms that could indicate diverticulitis. They will go over your medical background, dietary preferences, and any medications you are taking at the time of the appointment. Your healthcare professional will also perform an abdominal exam to look for any indications of pain or tenderness.
Additional tests may be ordered to help diagnose your condition. These may include,
- Blood analysis. Its purpose is to look for indicators of infection.
- A stool sample. It is done to look for unusual bacteria or parasites.
- A digital rectal examination. It helps in identifying issues with the anus or rectum.
- A CT scan. It is essential for examining diverticula that are diseased or inflamed.
- A barium enema. It helps any colon-related problems appear more clearly on X-rays
- A sigmoidoscopy. It aids in sigmoid colon examination.
- A colonoscopy. It helps to check for unusual growths, ulcers, bleeding, or sores.
How to treat Diverticulosis
You can take precautions if you have Diverticulosis to lower the risk of diverticulitis. A high-fiber diet that includes fleshy fruits, green vegetables, numerous types of beans, and legumes while limiting your consumption of red meat is a fantastic approach to this. Your doctor can give you a treatment strategy for diverticulitis that meets your particular requirements if you have received a diagnosis. Rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a low-fiber or liquid diet could be necessary for mild instances.
You can gradually add liquid food as your symptoms improve, then switch to a more typical diet that includes high-fiber foods. Hospitalization may be necessary for severe instances, rectal bleeding, or recurrent episodes so that intravenous antibiotics, fluids, and sometimes surgical intervention can be given.
Even with a high-fiber diet, surgery to remove the damaged portion of the colon may be required in situations of numerous attacks to stop further attacks.
Surgery is necessary,
- When draining an abscess with a needle or catheter is unsuccessful.
- If an infection caused by a tear in the colon has led to peritonitis.
- In the presence of blockages or strictures.
- If a fistula has formed, which is an unnatural connection between two organs due to an abscess eroding the nearby tissue.
- When rectal bleeding does not cease on its own.
How to prevent diverticular?
- Consume a fiber-rich diet: This is the most effective strategy to prevent and treat diverticular disease. At least you should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily from a range of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Exercise frequently – Regular exercise can help lower the risk of diverticular illness. On most days of the week, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking worsens the symptoms of diverticular illness and raises the risk of developing it.
- Limit your alcohol consumption because it raises the possibility of getting a diverticular illness. Try to keep your daily alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks.
- Maintain a healthy weight since the diverticular disease is more likely to occur in those who are overweight or obese.
- Avoid using drugs that weaken your digestive system’s muscles. Certain medications, such as opiates, can weaken the digestive system’s muscles and raise the risk of diverticular illness. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you are on any of these medications.
Avoiding smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, frequently exercising, eating a diet high in fiber, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help lower the chance of getting this condition. To ensure that diverticulitis is managed and treated effectively, it is crucial to seek medical assistance once symptoms appear.