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Diverticulitis Specialist

Southwest Gastroenterology

Gastroenterologists located in Avondale, AZ

If you’re over the age of 40, you’re more likely to develop diverticula: Small pouches in the digestive tract that can become infected. Diverticulitis occurs when the inflammation of these pouches causes digestive stress or infection. At Southwest Gastroenterology in Avondale, Arizona, patients can find relief from diverticulitis before it becomes a severe problem.

Diverticulitis Q & A

What causes diverticulitis?

Your risk of diverticulitis increases as you age because the colon can naturally develop diverticula over time. The likelihood of developing diverticulitis is also increased by:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Low levels of physical activity or exercise
  • Poor diet (especially if your diet is high in fat and low in fiber)
  • Taking certain medications (like steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opiates)

Doctors aren’t always sure what causes diverticulitis, but you may also be more prone to developing it if you have other gastrointestinal problems that cause inflammation or irritation in the colon.

If left untreated, the condition can cause complications like abscesses or blockages in the small or large intestine. In severe cases, peritonitis, a life-threatening condition where the infected diverticula rupture and leak intestinal tissue into your abdomen, can occur.

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms may mimic other conditions. Symptoms can also last a few hours, several days, or occur off and on inconsistently. Some of the most common complaints are:

  • Pain, cramps, or tenderness in the lower abdomen
  • A consistent feeling of bloating or gas
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of appetite

What are diverticulitis treatment options?

Depending on the severity and symptoms of diverticulitis, treatment methods vary.

If you have uncomplicated diverticulitis, your physician can recommend a home-care plan that may include a liquid diet, antibiotics, and pain relievers.

Complicated diverticulitis, which can cause extreme pain, might require hospitalization. These types of cases usually require antibiotics and sometimes surgery to repair a perforation or drain an abscess. If your colon has become severely infected, a surgeon may need to remove part of your large intestine, which is called a bowel resection.

Even in severe cases of diverticulitis, however, it’s possible to make a full recovery. You should also adopt lifestyle habits that support a healthier digestive system.

If you’re having trouble with diverticulitis, use the easy online scheduling tool to book an appointment with Southwest Gastroenterology today.