Advanced Endoscopy Center
Gastroenterology located in St. Louis, MO
If you develop sudden, severe pain in your lower left abdomen, there’s a good chance you have diverticulitis, a condition that sends 200,000 people to the hospital every year. The team at Advanced Endoscopy Center in St. Louis, Missouri, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating diverticulitis. They offer individualized treatment that eases your pain and puts you on the road to recovery. Don’t wait to get treatment for diverticulitis. Book online or call the office when you have abdominal pain that doesn’t go away or gets worse.
Diverticulitis Q & A
What is diverticulitis?
The wall of your large intestine consists of several layers of tissues. When the muscular middle layer develops a weak spot, the inner layer can push through that area. This creates a balloon-like bulge or sac that protrudes from the intestinal wall.
When you have one or more of these sacs, you have a condition called diverticulosis. Diverticulosis can develop anywhere along the large intestine, but it most often occurs on the lower left side.
If the sac becomes inflamed and infected, you have diverticulitis. This condition often comes on suddenly and causes severe symptoms.
What symptoms develop if I have diverticulitis?
While diverticulosis seldom causes symptoms, diverticulitis is guaranteed to cause extreme pain in the area of your abdomen where the inflammation is located.
In addition to abdominal pain, diverticulitis can cause:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fevers and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness when touching the area above the inflamed sac
You may also develop diverticular bleeding. This occurs when a small blood vessel inside the sac bursts. Diverticular bleeding can cause a lot of blood loss that may need emergency medical attention.
Does diverticulitis cause complications?
Without treatment, the ongoing inflammation may cause problems such as:
When an abscess (a collection of pus) forms around the inflamed sac, it can spread into your abdomen and cause peritonitis.
Peritonitis is a serious problem that occurs when infection from diverticulitis spreads into your abdomen.
As inflammation damages the surrounding tissues, an abnormal tunnel (fistula) can develop between the large intestine and another nearby organ, like your bladder.
Inflammation causes scarring in the large intestine, which in turn blocks the movement of waste.
If the weakened intestinal wall tears open, the infection and waste from your large intestine leak into the abdominal cavity.
How is diverticulitis treated?
Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have any complications.
If this is your first flare-up and your symptoms are mild to moderate, you may need to take oral medications and follow a liquid diet. The diet reduces the stress on your large intestine and gives the tissues time to heal.
More severe symptoms may need a short hospital stay so you can receive intravenous antibiotics and nutrients. If you have recurrent episodes of diverticulitis, or complications have developed, you need surgical intervention to repair the problem.
If you develop pain in your lower abdomen, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call Advanced Endoscopy Center or use the online booking feature.