Painful digestive tract pouches

Diverticulosis occurs when small, bulging pouches (diverticula) develop in the digestive tract. When one or more of these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is called “diverticulitis.” These pockets occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer. The pouches associated with the disease are most often located in the lower part of the large intestine, the colon. Some people may have only several small pouches on the left side of the colon, while others may have involvement in most of the colon. Sufferers want to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments for the disorder.

Because diverticulitis is uncommon in regions of the world where diets are high in fiber and rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables, most doctors believe this condition is due in part to a diet low in fiber. A low-fiber diet leads to constipation, which increases pressure within the digestive tract with straining during bowel movements. The combination of pressure and straining over many years leads to diverticulitis.

Symptoms

Most people who have diverticulitis are unaware that they have the condition because it usually does not cause symptoms. It is possible that some people with the disease experience bloating, abdominal pain or constipation due to difficulty in stool passage through the affected region of the colon.

Diagnosing Diverticulitis

Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, Tammi D’Elena, PA-C, and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN, can diagnose diverticulitis by conducting a variety of standard intestinal tests:

Treatment

Once diverticula form, they do not disappear by themselves. Fortunately, most patients with diverticulitis do not have symptoms and, therefore, do not need treatment. When diverticulitis is accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating, or constipation, Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, Tammi D’Elena, PA-C, and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN, may recommend a high-fiber diet to help make stools softer and easier to pass. Supplemental fiber products can help to bulk up and soften the stool, which makes bowel movements easier to pass. Depending on the severity of a patient’s diverticulitis they may also prescribe medications to help relax spasms in the colon that cause abdominal cramping or discomfort.

Board-Certified physicians Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Long B. Nguyenand providers Tammi D’Elena, PA-C, and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRNcare for patients in the the North Atlanta, GA; area including Johns Creek, GA; Cumming, GA; Lawrenceville, GA; and Alpharetta, GA. The In-House Endoscopy Suite at Digestive Care Physicians, is a certified facility which has achieved the highest level of accreditation by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). If you suffer from gastrointestinal problems including diverticulitis, contact us at (770) 227-2222 to schedule an appointment.