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What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular disease is an umbrella term that encompasses three specific conditions involving the colon. These are diverticulosis, diverticular bleeding, and diverticulitis. Each of these conditions is related to the development of small sacs in the wall of the colon.
 

Diverticulosis

 

With this condition, diverticula develop in the lining of the bowel. These pockets are formed by pressure placed on weak spots in the intestinal walls. This pressure can come from gas, waste, and even liquid when straining during the bowel movement. All diverticular disease begins as diverticulosis.

 

Diverticular Bleeding

 

This condition develops when the small blood vessels next to the diverticula are repeatedly injured. These constant injuries turn into chronic bleeding in the bowel.
 

Diverticulitis

 

When diverticulitis develops, it is due to the pockets becoming blocked with waste. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria buildup, turning into an infection and causing painful inflammation. Out of the three, diverticulitis causes the most noticeable symptoms.
 

Causes of Diverticular Disease

 

As of right now, doctors aren’t clear on what causes the diverticular disease to develop. Most theories center on the idea of not eating enough fiber, and this allowing waste to build up and places undue strain on the walls of the bowel.
 

Symptoms of Diverticular Disease

 

In truth, most symptoms are not of the three diseases, but specifically symptoms of diverticulitis. This is because it has the most noticeable symptoms of the three diseases. Signs that you might have diverticular disease include:
 

  • Blood in your stool (seen in both diverticular bleeding and diverticulitis)
  • Tenderness in the lower abdomen and bowel
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Swelling or bloating
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
 

Treating Diverticular Disease

 

To treat diverticular disease, you will need a diagnosis from a medical professional. This may involve various tests, including a colonoscopy.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you move into the treatment phase. This can involve three different components: diet, medications, and surgery.

When the condition is mild, patients are typically put on bed rest, a liquid diet, and a round of antibiotics to clear up the infection. In some cases, antispasmodic drugs are also used to cut down on the pain. If the condition is severe, you may require diverticular surgery in Huntington Station.

It can be difficult to know when you need surgery for diverticulitis and when you are better off with other treatments. In most cases, doctors will choose less invasive methods first. If you are noticing symptoms, schedule an appointment with a doctor and look into the foods to avoid diverticulitis to see if this can ease your symptoms until you are seen.