Lower Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Disorders

diverticular disease colon

What is diverticular disease?

Diverticular disease occurs when little pockets or bulges ( diverticulum ) develop within the line of the large intestine ( colon ). It is a coarse condition with most people having no or few symptoms. In the absence of symptoms, the condition is called diverticulosis. When symptoms, such as lower abdominal pain is award, it is called diverticular disease.

In some people with diverticular disease, the diverticulum tear and become infect or inflamed, a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticula is normally associated with inadequate fibre intake or ageing and is caused by hard stools passing through the large intestine.

What are the causes of diverticular disease?

The exact causal agent of diverticular disease is not known, however, it has been linked to several factors, such as :

  • Age. The walls of the large intestine become weaker with age. This may lead to the formation of diverticula from the pressure of hard stools passing through the intestines.
  • Diet and lifestyle. Lack of fibre in the diet, smoking, being overweight or obese, having a history of constipation, and long-term regular use of painkillers increase the risk for diverticular disease.
  • Genetics. Having a family history of diverticular disease increases the chances of a person developing the condition.

What are the symptoms of diverticular disease?

Common symptoms of diverticular disease include :

  • Abdominal pain often occurring on the lower left side of the abdomen and tends to happen intermittently. However, it has been noted that pain on the right side may be present among people of Asian descent. The pain gets worse during or shortly after eating.  
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, or both 
  • Occasional bloody stool 

How is diverticular disease diagnosed?

Following a thorough review of your aesculapian history, your doctor may perform a physical examination with one or more of the follow tests :

  • Blood tests to test for infection, inflammation or anaemia. 
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan to diagnose diverticular disease and diverticulitis. In this procedure, a combination of x-rays and computer technology is used to visualise the gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Colonoscopy, which uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a camera attached to its end to have a good view of the insides of the rectum and colon. This procedure may be done to confirm a diagnosis of diverticular disease or diverticulitis and rule out other conditions. 
  • Barium enema. This procedure utilises x-rays and a liquid called barium to examine the large intestine. The large intestine is filled with barium using a flexible tube inserted through the anus. The barium will make the large intestine more visible on an x-ray. 

How is diverticular disease treated?

For meek cases, your doctor of the church may prescribe antibiotics and recommend life style or dietary changes such as a diet senior high school in character, or probiotics. For severe cases of diverticulitis or diverticular shed blood, surgical discussion may be required.

Lifestyle changes

Those with diverticular disease should consume a diet that is fat in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, beans and pulses. Drink enough of fluids to prevent bloat and wind instrument. For diverticulitis, a fluid-only diet may be recommended for a few days until symptoms improve followed by a high-fibre diet upon recovery.

Medicine

Painkillers such as paracetamol can be used to relieve trouble in diverticular disease. A bulk-forming laxative helps to ease constipation or diarrhea. Antibiotics and stronger painkillers are normally prescribed for diverticulitis. More severe cases of diverticulitis may need to be treated in the hospital.

Surgery

surgery may be needed to treat rare cases of good complications of diverticulitis such as fistulas ( an abnormal connection between two organs ), peritonitis ( infection of the abdominal cavity ), or obstruction in the intestines. The operating room is called intestine resection which involves the removal of diseased segments of the intestine and then reconnecting the healthy segments. If it ’ s not possible to reconnect the colon and the rectum, a colostomy will be performed .

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