What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis happens when pouches form in the wall of the colon camera.gif. If these pouches get inflamed or infected, it is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be very painful.
What causes diverticulitis?
Doctors aren't sure what causes diverticula in the colon (diverticulosis). But they think that a low-fiber diet may play a role. Without fiber to add bulk to the stool, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward. The pressure from this may cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon. Bacteria grow in the pouches, and this can lead to inflammation or infection.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of diverticulitis may last from a few hours to a week or more. Symptoms include:
- Belly pain, usually in the lower left side, that is sometimes worse when you move. This is the most common symptom.
- Fever and chills.
- Bloating and gas.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
- Not feeling like eating.
How is diverticulitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine you. He or she may do tests to see if you have an infection or to make sure that you don't have other problems. Tests may include:
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC).
- Other tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan.
If you believe you suffer from diverticulitis, call your doctor immediately. In conjunction with the physicians at Gastroenterology Consultants of Greater Lowell, you can receive the highest level of care to treat your diverticulitis.