Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak spots in the wall of the colon. These sacs, called diverticula, can also form in the stomach, intestine and esophagus. Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticular sacs become infected. While the exact cause of diverticulosis isn’t known, it’s rare in people who eat high fiber diets. Therefore, some doctors believe the pressure from the bulky stool created by a low-fiber diet results in straining, thereby causing these pouches to form.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Most patients with diverticulosis don’t experience symptoms until the diverticula become infected. Patients with diverticulitis may experience nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and a change in bowel habits.
Treatment of Diverticulitis
It’s important than you seek treatment for diverticulosis or diverticulitis from a specially-trained gastroenterologist. The best way to try to prevent diverticulosis is to eat a high-fiber diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting daily exercise will also help manage diverticulosis. Additionally, taking fiber supplements and keeping a schedule for bowel movements are good practices to help prevent symptoms. There is no proven way to prevent diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is usually treated with antibiotics and rarely requires surgery.
Did You Know?
- The best way to prevent diverticulosis is to avoid constipation.
- By the age of 60, some 50% of Americans have diverticulosis.
- Diverticulosis is more common in regions of the world where diets tend to be low-fiber and include high red meat consumption, such as the U.S. and Australia.
The Southeast Gastro team is here to help with your diverticulitis diagnosis and treatment. If you think you might be suffering from diverticulitis, please call us today or click here to request an appointment.