All About Diverticulitis
Occasionally, these outpouchings in the colon become obstructed by food or other debris leading to inflammation in this segment of your colon, usually your sigmoid colon on the left aspect of your abdomen.
It bears mentioning that the most updated data shows that no particular types of food cause diverticulitis episodes (foods like seeds and nuts had historically been thought to be culprits).
The best recommendation is to simply maintain a healthy diet with adequate fiber intake and regular bowel habits, avoiding constipation.
There is a wide spectrum of severity when it comes to diverticulitis. CT scanning is typically used for diagnosis. Some episodes are mild and treated with oral antibiotic pills at home. More severe episodes require a period of bowel rest, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics in the hospital.
Occasionally, the outpouching can become so inflamed that it perforates causing an abscess, or collection of pus, next to your colon. Oftentimes, this can be treated with drainage through a needle by radiologists; more rarely it can require surgery.
The most severe case involves perforation with stool or pus throughout the abdomen which is a life threatening emergency requiring emergency surgery and usually a temporary colostomy.
There is no exact number of episodes before one should consider elective surgery to remove the responsible part of your colon. It depends on how your individual life is negatively impacted by either constant/recurrent pain, frequent need for antibiotics, frequent need for hospital visits, etc.
I would recommend scheduling an appointment to discuss surgery if you feel that your diverticulitis is significantly impacting your life.
While elective surgery has some risks, they are much lower than emergency surgery including the need for temporary colostomy, which is very infrequent. Elective surgery also allows for us to perform your surgery laparoscopically or robotically.
Schedule your consultation with one of our board certified surgical experts today, (540) 347-2805.