When you experience persistent digestive system pain or discomfort, it can make even your favorite meals an uncomfortable and unenjoyable time. At Vanguard Gastroenterology, we are dedicated to helping our patients maintain a healthy digestive system, so they can live their life free from common symptoms. For patients in the NYC area, there is no better place to undergo testing and receive treatment for your gastrointestinal issues.
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a serious medical condition that results when small pouches known as diverticula develop along the intestinal walls, causing inflammation and infection. The formation of these pouches is typically benign and called diverticulosis. Diverticulitis occurs when this condition worsens because of an abscess in the pouches, an infection occurs, or when the bowel is perforated. While the exact causes of diverticulitis are not yet fully understood, most doctors agree that it may be triggered when a person passes hard stools, which can cause inflammation as the stool becomes trapped in the diverticulosis sacs that have formed along the walls of the intestines.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Patients with the less-severe condition diverticulosis will typically not have any idea because it is asymptomatic. The only symptoms a person may notice include cramping on the left side of the abdomen prior to release of gas or a bowel movement and bright red blood in a person’s stool. However, if your diverticulosis worsens and becomes diverticulitis, symptoms will include fever and severe abdominal pain. Your diverticulitis symptoms may be chronic or acute, so it may be difficult to know whether your symptoms are part of a larger problem if they dissipate between flare-ups. However, if left untreated, diverticulitis may result in constipation and even bowel obstruction. If you think that you may have diverticulitis, it is essential that you speak to a gastroenterologist who can provide precise diagnostic testing.
How is diverticulitis diagnosed and treated?
There are a few methods your doctor may use to diagnose your diverticulitis. Colonoscopy can be an effective way for your doctor to visually inspect the interior of your intestinal walls and contrast images using x-rays or CT scans can provide insight into your body’s internal function. Once your doctor has diagnosed you with diverticulitis, they can discuss your treatment options with you. Ensuring healthy digestion and regular bowel movements is extremely important to lowering your complication chances. The sacs in your intestines will remain in your body unless you decide to have them removed surgically, so managing your symptoms and making smart lifestyle changes including exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet can be very helpful for avoiding future recurrence of diverticulitis. Depending on the severity of your condition, antibiotics, antispasmodic drugs, stool softeners, and modified diet may all be used to reverse your diverticulitis symptoms during an active flare up. If your bowel has been perforated or you have abscesses that are infected, you may need to undergo more significant and invasive treatments.
If you have been experiencing abdominal distress and have noticed difficulty with your bowel movements, call us at Vanguard Gastroenterology in NYC to schedule an appointment with a specialist who can help you target and address your symptoms. Diverticulitis can lead to serious complications, so don’t wait for a diagnosis. Please make an appointment with an experienced gastroenterologist today.
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