Diverticulitis is a swelling of a part of the intestinal wall. The inflammation is called a diverticulum and forms a small pouch usually found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis is diagnosed when the actual presence of the pouches are found. The pouches develop over time and can develop in any part of the intestinal track. However they are most commonly found in the sigmoid colon, or for most people who do not understand medical jargon, the lowest part of the colon. Diverticulitis is most common in people over the age of 40. The pouches that form are thought to develop from abnormal pressure in the colon. Most people do not understand how this pressure is built but essentially it is from defects in the blood vessels surrounding the colon wall.
Diverticulitis is very common. It is found in over half the population of people over age 60, but only a few percentages actually develop a full blown case of diverticulitis. Many people on a low fiber diet will experience a higher risk of inflammation. People who have diverticulitis experience abdominal pain, usually in the left lower abdomen, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting and extreme weight loss if untreated. If someone is experiencing these symptoms it is important to see a doctor right away to run tests such as abdominal palpation, ct scans or a count of white blood cells. It is essential for anyone having the listed symptoms to get tested by a medical professional.
Diverticulitis is treated with prescription antibiotics. However, if the problem has persisted and gone for too long without treatment, then surgery could be necessary. Usually surgery is performed if there have been abscesses that formed have formed as a result. Surgery is also required if there are holes in the colon which is part of the symptoms. If a fistula occurs, which is a connection that has inter connectedly formed abnormally to different parts of the colon, then surgery becomes necessary as well. Diverticulitis has the potential of being fatal without treatment. Diverticulitis is usually a very mild condition that responds well to treatment if caught early.
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