Diverticulitis is often a mild problem, but it can sometimes cause persistent abdominal pain and complications. If you have any symptoms of diverticulitis, the highly experienced team at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford can help you manage your condition and keep the pain under control. New England’s largest specialist colorectal practice provides services at its convenient offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, Enfield, and Plainville, Connecticut. Call the office nearest you today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Diverticulitis is an inflammation or infection of pouches called diverticula in your digestive system.
Diverticula most often develop in your colon (large intestine) and are common in people over 40. They usually don’t cause any problems, unless inflammation or infection sets in.
Symptoms of diverticulitis include:
The main symptom of diverticulitis is pain that can be constant and last several days. The pain is usually in the left lower side of your abdomen, but the right side is sometimes more painful.
The pouches called diverticula develop if you have weak spots in your colon. The weak spots give way, forming pouches on the walls of the colon. If the diverticula tear, it can cause inflammation and let in infection.
Risk factors for diverticulitis include:
Some medications also seem to increase your risk of getting diverticulitis. These include steroids, opioids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Complications sometimes occur when you have diverticulitis. You might get an abscess if pus builds up in the diverticula. Scarring can lead to a blockage, or you might get a fistula, an abnormal passage between the bowel and other organs.
Peritonitis is another possibility if an infected pouch bursts, letting the contents of your intestines spill into your abdominal cavity. This is an emergency, and you should call 911 or go to the nearest ER if you suspect peritonitis.
If you have mild, uncomplicated diverticulitis, you can manage it at home. Your provider at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford might give you antibiotics and recommend an over-the-counter-painkiller. You should eat a liquid diet for several days while your bowel heals.
More severe or complicated diverticulitis could require hospitalization. You might need to have intravenous antibiotics and a tube in your abdomen to drain any abscesses. If you have any complications or a weak immune system, you might also need surgery.
There are two main surgeries for diverticulitis:
This is a procedure called anastomosis, which involves removing the affected parts of your intestine and rejoining the healthy sections. After recovering from anastomosis, you should be able to move your bowels normally.
If it’s not possible to reattach the colon because of the degree of inflammation, the surgeon instead creates a hole called a stoma in your abdomen. This allows waste to pass from your bowel to a colostomy bag. Sometimes it’s possible to reverse the colostomy when the inflammation goes down.
If you have any symptoms of diverticulitis, call Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.