Inside the colon wall are formations called diverticula. These bulges or pockets occur in weakened areas of the wall and can be pea-sized or larger. When diverticula are present in the colon, the condition is called diverticulosis, which does not require treatment. However, if the diverticula become inflamed or infected, the intestinal tract condition is called diverticulitis, and it may need treatment. Danny Shouhed, M.D. offers an effective diagnosis and diverticulitis treatment at our medical center in Los Angeles.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Although the exact cause of diverticulitis is not known, there are risk factors. This is a common disorder in aging individuals (10% of people over 40 have diverticulosis but 50% of people over 60 are expected to get this disorder) which can lead to diverticulitis. Besides age, you have an increased risk of diverticulosis or diverticulitis if you are overweight, male or sedentary. Those who eat high-fat, low-fiber or excessive red meat diets are at risk, as well as smokers and consistent users of NSAIDs.
Diverticulosis does not usually have concerning symptoms, but once the diverticula become infected or inflamed, they can cause discomfort. Symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Pain or tenderness on the lower left side of your abdomen
- Fever and chills
- Vomiting, nausea or both
- Either constipation or diarrhea
- Cramping in lower abdomen
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
Once diverticulitis is diagnosed, treatment depends on the severity of the infection and damage to the colon. Mild cases can be treated with oral antibiotics, but more severe cases may require IV antibiotics or surgery. Some complications of diverticulitis can pose serious health risks that require immediate surgery to remove abscesses, blockages or damaged parts of the colon, or to repair perorations or fistulas.
If you have symptoms of diverticulitis, it is important to seek diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. If you require surgery for diverticulitis, Danny Shouhed, M.D. is a top GI surgeon in Los Angeles that can perform your diverticulitis treatment. Contact our office in LA today to schedule an appointment.