What Is Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular Disease refers to the presence of diverticula. These small, bulging pouches can form in the lining of the digestive system, usually in the lower part of the large intestine (colon). The condition primarily includes two phases:

  • Diverticulosis, where pouches are present but not inflamed.
  • Diverticulitis, where the pouches become inflamed or infected.

What Causes Diverticular Disease?

While the exact cause of diverticula formation is not entirely understood, several factors may contribute to their development:

  • Aging: The risk increases with age as the colon’s walls weaken with time.
  • Low Fiber Diet: Insufficient fiber can lead to constipation and increased pressure inside the colon, contributing to the formation of diverticula.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Family history may play a role.
  • Physical Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk.

How Is Diverticular Disease Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and whether the condition is diverticulosis or diverticulitis:

  • Dietary Changes: A high-fiber diet can be implemented to ease bowel movements and reduce pressure in the colon.
  • Medications: Antibiotics for diverticulitis to treat infection and inflammation.
  • Pain Relievers: To manage abdominal pain during flare-ups.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of recurrent diverticulitis, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the affected part of the colon.
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What Are the Symptoms?

Diverticulosis often causes no symptoms, but diverticulitis can be more serious, with symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain, usually on the lower left side
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as increased constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating

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Why Choose Us?

At Peak Gastroenterology Associates, our approach to managing diverticular disease is holistic and patient-focused. We employ advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies for tailored care to address the symptoms and resolve the underlying cause of your condition. Our team of GI doctors ensures that every patient receives comprehensive guidance and support, making us the preferred choice for those seeking compassionate care for diverticular disease.

Nearly half of Americans over 60 have diverticular disease. If you have uncomfortable, painful symptoms that could be diverticular disease, schedule an appointment at one of our clinics in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Salida, Denver, Woodland Park, and Parker, Colorado. In addition to being leaders in the field of gastroenterology, we offer a full spectrum of top-tier care. Our renowned physicians have a variety of specialties, including hepatology, anesthesiology, and pathology. At our clinic, you can have all of your healthcare concerns addressed by qualified specialists in one convenient location.

Diverticular Disease FAQ

What is diverticular disease?

Diverticular disease describes various conditions that cause tiny sacs, or diverticula, to form in the wall of your large intestine (colon), most commonly in the part of the large intestine closest to your rectum. The sacs form from pressure on the colon wall, forcing it to bulge and develop the sacs.

While not clearly understood, your risk for developing diverticular disease increases if you follow a diet that’s high in red meat and low in fiber. The condition also becomes more common as you age.

What are the types of diverticular diseases, and how are they different?

  • Diverticulitis: Diverticulitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the colon and may result from tearing one of the sacs. As a result, secondary health complications can occur, such as abscesses and rectal bleeding.
  • Diverticulosis: Diverticulosis is a condition in which sacs form in the large intestine without causing complications. However, the condition can advance into diverticulitis.

What are the symptoms of diverticular disease?

If you have diverticulitis, or if you have diverticulosis that progresses, you can experience a variety of symptoms. However, it’s common not to experience symptoms until the disease progresses. The formation of an abscess, a pus-filled pocket, is typical with diverticulitis. This pocket can become infected and may spread throughout your abdomen, causing a life-threatening condition. Other symptoms of diverticular disease include rectal bleeding or the formation of a stricture or fistula.

What is a stricture?

A stricture is colon narrowing that slows or prevents waste from traveling through the large intestine, making it difficult to pass stool.

What is a fistula?

A fistula is a tract or tunnel that forms and connects one organ to another or the skin. Fistulas often connect the colon to the bowel, vagina, or skin.

How is diverticular disease diagnosed?

Since diverticular disease doesn’t always cause symptoms, your Peak Gastroenterology Associates provider may discover the condition during a routine colonoscopy or colon cancer screening.

When you experience rectal bleeding or other symptoms associated with diverticular disease, your Peak Gastroenterology Associates GI specialist will review your medical history and may recommend an abdominal CT scan of the abdomen and a colonoscopy.

How is diverticular disease treated?

If you have symptoms of diverticular disease, your Peak Gastroenterology Associates provider may prescribe antibiotics to treat an existing abscess or to prevent an infection. In some cases, they may need to drain the abscess of fluids using X-ray guidance to place the drain.

If you have a rupture in your colon that causes peritonitis, you need emergency surgery. You may also require surgery if you have an abscess that can’t be drained or if you don’t respond to antibiotic therapy.

Your Peak Gastroenterology Associates provider may also recommend surgery if you have a stricture or fistula with complications. To learn more about treatments available for diverticular disease, schedule an online consultation or call the Peak Gastroenterology Associates clinic nearest you. Our GI specialists and caring support team offer unparalleled, patient-focused care in treating diverticular disease in Denver, Colorado Springs, Lone Tree, and beyond.

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