Ignoring the symptoms of diverticulitis can lead to dangerous complications requiring emergency surgery. Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is a double board-certified surgeon in Los Angeles, California, offering innovative treatments for gastrointestinal disorders such as diverticulitis. Don’t ignore abdominal pain; call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.
Diverticulitis is a digestive condition associated with diverticula in your colon. These small pockets can develop over time because of high pressure in your colon.
When stool becomes trapped in these areas, it allows bacteria to overgrow, leading to inflammation in the wall of your colon.
Diet plays a significant role in diverticulitis because low-fiber diets cause high levels of pressure in your colon, which results in the development of diverticula.
Approximately 50% of American men and women have diverticula in their colons by the time they turn 60, and nearly all people do by age 80.
Diverticulitis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
In some cases, you can also develop serious conditions like sepsis because of diverticula and colon ruptures.
It’s also possible to experience chronic colon inflammation and bleeding or fistulas. A fistula describes an abnormal connection between your colon and bladder or colon and vagina. When you have a fistula, you might pass gas or stool through your urine or vagina.
Dr. Zaghiyan usually diagnoses diverticulitis by conducting a thorough exam, evaluating your medical history, and ordering a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis.
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Zaghiyan develops a personalized treatment strategy based on your specific condition. If you have mild diverticulitis, for example, she might recommend oral antibiotics and several days of dietary modifications to control your symptoms.
For more severe cases of diverticulitis, especially those that include symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or severe abdominal pain that doesn't respond to oral antibiotics, Dr. Zaghiyan might recommend more extensive medical treatments.
These therapies usually include a hospital stay with intravenous (IV) antibiotics, bowel rest (fasting), IV hydration, and further colorectal evaluation.
Sometimes, you may need minimally invasive treatments to address serious issues like abscesses.
If you need surgical treatment for diverticulitis, Dr. Zaghiyan recommends laparoscopic or robotic-assisted techniques whenever possible. Surgical procedures to treat diverticulitis usually involve removing the diseased portion of your colon.
To learn more about diverticulitis, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule a consultation online today.