What are the Symptoms of Colon Diverticulitis and Its Treatments

A diverticulitis is a condition wherein the colon has ruptured and is infecting the surrounding tissues of the colon. Diverticulitis starts from the formation of a diverticulosis or outpouching of the colon wall due to increased pressure.

Patients with diverticulosis often do not experience any symptom at all. It is only when the colon walls rupture that diverticulitis occurs causing an infection and increasing the risk of complications.

The incidence of diverticulosis and diverticulitis is directly linked to dietary and health practices as seen in the higher percentage of the disease in the Western world compared to Asian countries.

Diverticular diseases increase with age with a higher incidence in people age 60 years old and above. The disease is uncommon in people below the age of 40 years old.

Colon Diverticulitis

This refers to a rupture of the colon, causing subsequent infections to surrounding structures.

  • Diverticula or outpouchings occur because as the person ages, the colon wall thickens.
  • Thickened colon walls also mean increasing pressure required to push out colon contents.
  • A poor diet and sedentary lifestyle does not contribute to easing the work of the colon.
  • This causes a greater pressure to be required in the colon causing the outpouching or diverticula formation.
  • When the diverticula rupture from increased colonic pressure, colonic contents pour out and infect the surrounding tissues and structures causing diverticulitis.

Colon Diverticulitis Symptoms

Diverticulosis has few or no symptoms at all. Some patients may complain of symptom such as:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping.
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Complications from diverticulosis include:

  • Diverticulitis
  • Pelvis abscess
  • Bacterial peritonitis
  • Bleeding into the colon.

When diverticulitis occurs, the following symptoms may be evident:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Fever
  • Rectal passage of blood.
  • Symptoms of shock such as hypotension, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

Colon Diverticulitis Treatment

Diverticulitis is considered a medical emergency. Patients will immediately be started on the following treatments:

  • Antibiotic therapy, oral or intravenous.
  • The patient will be placed on fasting status, liquid or low fiber diet.
  • Blood replacements through blood transfusions.
  • Treating shock with intravenous fluid replacements.
  • Treating potential complications such as the possible affectation of the urinary bladder from the rupture, a common complication.
  • Surgical intervention for cases that do not respond to medical treatment.
    • Collection of pus will be drained.
    • Surgical removal of the bleeding diverticula.
    • Resection of the colonic segment containing the affected diverticula.
    • Surgical removal of all diverticula if possible and seen fit by the surgeon.

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