Could you have diverticulosis? Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, shares some information about the condition.
What is diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches form in the wall of your large intestine. Thirty-five percent of people 50 and younger and 58 percent of people 60 and older have the condition, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
How can I tell if I have diverticulosis?
You probably won't experience any symptoms if you have diverticulosis. Many people only find out they have the condition when tests are performed to diagnose another condition or disease. If you do develop symptoms, you may notice bloating, pain in the lower left part of your abdomen or constipation. Symptoms are more likely to occur if you have diverticulitis, which occurs when the pouches become infected or inflamed. Fortunately, most people who have diverticulosis will never experience diverticulitis.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Constipation or diarrhea
How is diverticulitis treated?
If you have diverticulitis, you'll need to take an antibiotic to treat the infection. You may also be advised to follow a liquid diet for a few days. You may spend a few days receiving intravenous antibiotics in the hospital if you suffer a severe attack. Surgery may be needed to treat bowel obstructions, abscesses or perforations.
How can I reduce the chance of developing diverticulosis or diverticulitis?
Drinking plenty of water and eating a high fiber diet can help digested food pass through your colon more quickly and may reduce your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and exercising regularly may also be helpful. If you do develop diverticulitis symptoms, it's important to call our Houston office as soon as possible, particularly if your symptoms severe. The infection won't go away on its own, and obstructions and other serious consequences may be life-threatening if you don't receive prompt treatment.
Are you concerned that your abdominal pain may be a sign of diverticular disease? Call our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, at (713) 777-2555 to schedule an appointment.