Diverticulitis is an inflammation in one or more pouches in the digestive tract. Surprisingly, location depends on the region where patient lives. Usually, those who live in North America and Europe have diverticulitis on the left side and those who live in Asia - on the right side. As a matter of fact these inflamed pouches resemble hernia in their symptoms and level of pain. In most cases pouches get stuck in intestine, and bacteria that appear there cause the inflammatory process. Diverticulitis occurs among females more frequently than men. People older than 40 years are more susceptible to it. There are different forms of diverticulitis: acute diverticulitis, perforated diverticulitis and sigmoid diverticulitis. Dverticulitis attack may last from several hours to several days.
Over the past century number of people with diverticulitis has increased almost by 4 times. Doctors attribute this change to poor everyday diet. People who do not eat vegetables and fruits very often are in the risk group. Moreover, people in Asia do not have it as often as people in Europe and North America, because Asians do not consume such big amounts of meat. If person is diagnosed with diverticulitis, he requires immediate medical attention because complications of this disease may be very dangerous. Inflammation of the abdominal cavity in its severe form can be life-threatening. The diverticulitis may also develop into the bowel cancer if it is not treated on time.
Diverticulitis is often mistaken for appendicitis and simple indigestion. Nevertheless, there are such specific symptoms:
Most common diverticulitis symptoms are:
Initial diagnosis of diverticulitis usually includes inspection and palpation of the abdomen. If there is swelling and belching in that part of the body, doctor may order colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is an examination of the inner surface of colon through the colonoscope. This device inserts a narrow flexible tube into the anus. It has a fixed camera that transmits the image to monitor screen. This equipment helps colonoscopist detect the slightest changes in the intestinal mucosa and take tissue sample for biopsy.
Abdominal ultrasound is the safest and painless diagnosis of diverticulitis. Ultrasound waves create an image of the internal organs and show if the bowel wall is thickened.
Diverticulitis treatment can be performed either at home or in the hospital. Choice of treatment depends on the disease stage.
Indications for hospitalization are:
Hospital treatment usually lasts 9-11 days. After diverticulitis treatment patient is required to take anti-inflammatory medications for 2-3 weeks. The most important part of treatment of diverticulitis is a strict diet. In some cases patients are forbidden to eat for 2-3 days in order to completely empty stomach, bowel and intestines. Any food that causes bloating is forbidden. It includes beans, grapes, milk, and sugar. Also patients are not allowed to eat rice, blueberries, pomegranate, white bread, because these products may cause constipation. Even vegetables and fruits are not recommended, because they can increase level of inflammatory process in the body. Patients also need to drink more than 2 liters of water per day. Tea and coffee do not count. If surgery is not needed, doctors may cure the diverticulitis by antibiotics in a matter of several weeks. The antibiotics which fights bacterial infection are usually used in this case. These antibiotics not only treat inflammation process of the bowel, but also lower high temperature, alleviate pain and help patient feel better. If treatment of diverticulitis with antibiotics is not successful, then surgery may be required.
There are two main types of diverticulitis surgery:
Elective surgery. This type of surgery is performed 3 months after successful drug treatment of diverticulitis. The purpose of elective surgery is to prevent the re-inflammation.
Emergency surgery. This surgery is applied if there is a strong risk of bleeding or rupture. Emergency surgery is done if bleeding can not be stopped by drugs and if there is bowel obstruction. It can also be used if pain caused by diverticulitis is too strong and the doctors can not stop it using the usual drugs.
Nevertheless, there are certain groups of people for whom the surgery is forbidden. These groups include:
Before the surgery a patient undergoes preparation stage. During this stage they are required to be on a diet and regularly submit blood tests. The diet before surgery includes products which are rich in vitamins A, B, C, K, P and iron. Eggs, fish, cheese, milk products, vegetables, and fruits contain these vitamins. After surgery patient is not allowed to eat for one or two days.
If patient is overweight he needs to lose some weight before the operation, otherwise tissues close to the bowel would not be able to regenerate as quickly as they should. The day before the operation the patient`s bowel is cleansed.
During the actual surgery doctor performs the resection of the bowel. It can be achieved during the laparoscopic surgery. Resection of the bowel is done through the open incision under the general anesthesia. Surgeon opens the colon and with colonoscope reaches the bowel, where he can operate.
First 3-4 days after the surgery patient is required to eat 8 times a day, but the amount of food must not exceed 400-500 grams per serving. The food should be liquid or gel-like. It includes tea, juice, jelly, and pudding. Food should also not be hot or too cold.
Next 3-4 days patient should eat 6 times per day. Broth and pureed oatmeal are allowed with the addition of milk, butter, meat and fish.
Patients must avoid any further colon injuries, which can be accumulated because of unhealthy lifestyle, infections, food poisoning, and excessive alcohol consumption. They also need to prevent any further constipation, because it can provoke the diverticulitis again. Sedentary lifestyle and lack of mobility may result in constipation, that`s why it is so important to exercise regularly and to walk for at least half an hour every day to maintain the microflora balance.Hide
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