Memorial Hermann Greater Heights


Memorial Hermann Southwest

(713) 777-2555

Smith Tower


How is your colon, really?

Your colon probably doesn’t get much attention; however, nearly 200,000 individuals each year deal with a painful condition known as diverticulitis, which causes pockets within the colon's lining. While some people may have this condition but never know it, others may deal with digestive problems. Get to know more about this common GI problem and when you should turn to our Houston, TX, gastroenterologists.

What are the signs and symptoms? 

If you have diverticulitis, you may experience,

  • Abdominal pain, often on the lower-left side, that can last for days
  • Fever
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

When should I see a gastroenterologist? 

While the symptoms above are not unique to diverticulitis, if you are dealing with persistent abdominal pain, particularly abdominal pain along with constipation, fever or vomiting, you should turn to our Houston, TX, gastroenterologists to find out what’s going on.

How is diverticulitis diagnosed? 

Once we go through your medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms, we will need to run tests to see if you’re dealing with diverticulitis and to rule out other disorders or problems. A CT scan can help us detect the presence of pockets within the colon. If an individual is experiencing diarrhea, sometimes a stool sample can help us detect an infection.

What causes diverticulitis? 

These pockets often form in weaker areas of the colon that are more likely to create these pouches under pressure. When these pouches tear, this is known as diverticulitis, which leads to colon inflammation and possible infection. Risk factors for diverticulitis include,

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Being over age 40
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Low-fiber, high-animal fat diet
  • Steroid or NSAID use

Does this condition require treatment? 

If your diverticulitis is minor, our team may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection, but you may also have to be on a strict liquid diet for the first few days, so your colon has time to heal. If you have a severe bout of diverticulitis, you may need to be hospitalized to receive IV antibiotics. Surgery to treat diverticulitis is only necessary if there is a complication such as an abscess or obstruction of the bowels, if you’ve had multiple diverticulitis attacks or if you are immunocompromised.

If you have questions or concerns about your intestinal health, our Houston, TX, team of gastroenterologists is here for you. Call Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants at (713) 777-2555 to schedule an appointment with us. You can reach them in the Memorial Hermann Southwest location by calling (713) 777-2555, or in Smith Tower at (713) 796-8627, or in the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights location by calling (713) 880-8707. Call now.

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