Diverticular disease, or diverticulitis, occurs when diverticula, or small bulging pouches, form in the colon wall under pressure and become inflamed. Symptoms of diverticular disease include: 

  • Constant pain that continues for several days
  • Fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Tenderness around the abdomen on one or both sides
  • Constipation or diarrhea 

If you experience any of these symptoms accompanied by abdominal pain that persists for more than a few days, contact your doctor for a consultation. 

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Risk Factors

There are a few risk factors that may make you more susceptible to diverticular disease such as:

  • Obesity 
  • Smoking 
  • Old age
  • A sedentary lifestyle 
  • Medication such as steroids, opioids, and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Consumption of a diet high in animal fat but low in fiber

Treatment and Prevention 

Our prescribed treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health. Most conditions should be able to be treated at home. In cases where underlying conditions or complications are present, hospitalization and/or surgery may be necessary. 

In some cases it may be recommended to have a colonoscopy 6 weeks after a successful treatment to rule out colorectal cancer. If you have had multiple cases of diverticulitis, we may recommend having surgery to prevent future episodes. We will discuss your options at your follow up appointment so you can make an informed decision. 

We strongly recommend incorporating the following steps into your lifestyle to best prevent diverticular disease: 

  • Get plenty of exercise. This helps promote healthy bowel function and pressure within the colon. 
  • Consume a diet rich in fiber. This helps to soften stool so it can pass easier through the colon. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Drink plenty of water. As you increase your fiber intake, you also want to replenish your body with plenty of water. 
  • Quit smoking. Smoking puts you at a greater risk of developing diverticular disease. 

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