A man holding his stomach because he has diarrhea

Diverticula are very small pouches that form in all areas of the body including the throat, intestines, stomach and in other parts of the digestive system. Diverticula itself isn’t dangerous, and most people never even know that they have diverticula because they do not cause any symptoms. These Diverticula are most commonly found in the large intestine; where the surface area, as well as pressure is greatest.

For diverticulitis, Age is one of the biggest determinants of how susceptible patients are to the condition. More risks are mostly food and health choices like a low-fiber diet, as well as a negligence to exercise as well as obesity and of course, smoking. Young patients who exercise and have a good diet are more susceptible to diverticulitis if they are smoking than older patients with all other risk factors. If you are diagnosed with diverticulitis and smoke, it is recommended that you stop smoking as quickly as possible, to reduce the risk of cancer and other conditions.

Diverticula are common and usually have very few health risks associated with them if they remain as small diverticula. They usually come about naturally weak areas of the colon that give in when they undergo a large amount of pressure. This can be from especially hard bowel movements, or worse cases where heavy blunt force is applied to the abdomen, probably from getting hit or from working out too hard. Diverticula become a concern when they become infected, which is worse because inflammation can narrow the colon and create blockage, greatly increasing the risk of rupture.

Diverticula are a concern for patients because they can lead to much worse conditions and medical emergencies. Some of the secondary complications that can come from diverticulitis are:

  • Colon Blockage
  • Difficulty Diagnosing Colon/Rectal Cancer
  • Fistula
  • Intestinal Abscess
  • Peritonitis
  • Rectal Bleeding

These are the biggest concerns with diverticulitis, the worst being Peritonitis, which is a medical emergency. It requires immediate medical attention. Peritonitis is what occurs when diverticula that has become infected and inflamed bursts, releasing the contents of the intestine into the abdomen. This is dangerous because it makes the entire abdomen prone to fecal infections, has the probability of releasing contents into the bloodstream, and acid burns throughout the entire body. Although this is an extreme case, almost all cases of peritonitis are infected peritonitis, which carries the greatest mortality rate (upwards of 40%) and longest recovery time, requiring multiple passes of surgery, chemical and antibiotic treatment.

Symptoms of Diverticulitis that mark a necessary visit to your Gastroenterology specialist are:

  • A noted change in bowel movements
  • Bloated feeling
  • Constipation that lasts more than two days
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the abdomen that fluctuates intensity of the period of a few days, going from mild pain to heavy pain.
  • Rectum bleeding
  • Sever pain in the lower left side of the abdomen
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Unpredictable Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If these symptoms have been bothering you for a significant time period, you should call Arlington Gastroenterology Services to schedule an appointment to seek diagnosis and treatment. Our clinic is dedicated to getting you on the road to recovery as quickly and effectively as possible.