What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is the swelling or inflammation produced in one or more of the bags (= diverticula) in large intestine. Diverticula are bulging or hernias that occur in some people in the muscular walls of the large intestine.
To produce the diverticulitis it previously necessary a diverticulosis to take place. From 5 to 10% of people with diverticulosis usually develop this disease.
Although it may occur in any part of the intestine, it usually tends to appear in what is known as the sigmoid colon, which is where the large intestine ends.
This is usually a disease that affects older people, but there are plenty of cases from 40 years of age.
Consequences of diverticulitis
The most dangerous diverticulitis is produced from 50 years on. It affects three times more men than women and is more common in people of the Western world, demonstrating that it is closely related to food.
Diverticulitis requires urgent medical treatment to avoid possible severe complications such as:
- Peritonitis: Infection of the peritoneum or membrane of the abdominal wall.
- Abscess: Accumulation of pus in the diverticula.
- Fistulas in the colon
Symptoms of diverticulitis
Among the possible symptoms that might indicate the presence of diverticulitis, we can point out:
- Cramping pain in the lower left of abdomen
- Pain in any part of the abdomen
- Pain when pressing on the abdomen
- Blood in stools
- Vomiting or nausea
- Periods of diarrhea alternate with periods of constipation
Causes of diverticulitis
The main causes of diverticulitis are:
- Infection of one or several diverticula: it is thought that this infection is caused by accumulation of waste and rotting fecal solids in a diverticulum.
- Inadequate diets: It seems that there is a clear relationship between a poor diet, low in fiber, and the emergence of this disease.
- Genetics: People with a family history are more likely to have a weaker intestinal muscular wall.
Diagnostics of diverticulitis
Given the suspicion of diverticulitis, medical care is needed to perform diagnosis and an appropriate treatment.
The diagnosis is carried out with an exploration of the abdominal cavity. Sometimes it requires blood tests or other methods of observation as a colonoscopy (Introduction of a small rectal camera to directly observe the affected area), angiography (inserting a catheter through an artery in the leg) or ultrasound.
If you know that the person has diverticulitis, the patient should go quickly to the doctor in case of bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or fever.
Treatment of diverticulitis
Conventional treatment usually resorts to the use of antibiotics to eliminate the microorganisms causing the infection.
In more severe cases, it may require hospitalization or even surgery.
Natural treatment of diverticulitis
The natural treatment of diverticulitis involves the use of a series of natural resources that can complement or assist the treatment.
More information on diverticulitis and its natural treatment.