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What is Diverticulitis?


Diverticulitis is a disease that affects the large intestine.

The large intestine is made up of the colon and the rectum. Diverticulitis occurs when the small sacs, or pouches, that line the large intestine become inflamed. 

These sacs are called diverticula.

This can lead to abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Diverticulitis can also cause fever, nausea, and vomiting.

If the inflammation is severe, it can even cause life-threatening complications.

Treatment for diverticulitis usually involves antibiotics to clear the infection and pain relief.

This condition can be painful and may require treatment. In some cases, diverticulitis can lead to serious complications, such as infection or bleeding.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected portion of the intestine.

In this article we discuss Diverticulitis and the effect it has on the body, the symptoms caused and how preventative measures can be taken to avoid it.

What Are the Symptoms of Diverticulitis?


Diverticulitis can be mild or severe. In mild cases, the inflammation may go away on its own.

Potential symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Should you develop diverticulitis, you might have the following symptoms:

  • Constant severe pain in your abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stool
  • Bleeding from your rectum

Whenever you experience symptoms of diverticulitis, it is best to seek medical help right away.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from worsening and causing more serious complications.



What Are the Causes of Diverticulitis?


There are many different conditions that can lead to diverticulitis.

The most common cause is a build-up of pressure in the intestines, which weakens the walls of the intestines and causes them to bulge out.

This can be caused by constipation, which is often the result of a diet that is low in fiber.

Other causes of diverticulitis include:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Injury

Diverticulitis can be a serious condition that requires hospitalization.

If you think you may have diverticulitis, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.


What are the Complications of Diverticulitis?


There are a number of potential complications that can arise from diverticulitis, and it is important to be aware of them so that you can seek treatment early if necessary.

Some of the most common complications include abscess formation, perforation of the colon, fistula formation, and obstruction of the colon.

Less common but potentially more serious complications include peritonitis, sepsis, and death.

If you experience any severe abdominal pain or other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.



Diagnosis Of Diverticulitis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history and perform a physical exam to diagnose diverticulitis.

In some cases, diverticulitis may be a sign of a more serious condition like Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative colitis.

Early and accurate diagnosis is essential for proper treatment of these conditions. Your doctor may diagnose your condition using various methods, including:

Blood and urine tests
A blood test can help your doctor determine the severity of your condition and whether you have an infection.

Stool test
A stool test is a common diagnostic tool used to check for the presence of diverticulitis. This test can be used to confirm the diagnosis of diverticulitis, or to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

CT Scan
A CT scan can help to identify if there are any inflamed or infected pouches present, which can help to confirm a diagnosis of diverticulitis. Additionally, CT can also be used to assess the severity of diverticulitis and guide treatment decisions.


Home Remedies for Diverticulitis


There are a number of effective home remedies for diverticulitis that can help to decrease inflammation and pain.

Some of the best home remedies for diverticulitis include consuming probiotics, eating a high-fiber diet, and drinking plenty of fluids.

Probiotics help to increase the good bacteria in the gut, which can help to reduce inflammation.

A high-fiber diet is also beneficial as it helps to soften stool and prevents constipation, which can worsen diverticulitis symptoms. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to keep the intestine hydrated and prevents constipation.


Diet and Diverticulitis

Diet plays an important role in the development and severity of diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a condition where the diverticulum, or pockets in the colon walls, become inflamed.

These pockets are usually caused by a high-fat, low-fiber diet. Eating a high-fiber diet can help to prevent diverticulitis.

Fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps it move through the digestive system more easily. This can help to reduce the pressure on the colon walls and prevent the formation of diverticulum.

Your doctor might also suggest a diverticulitis diet as part of a short-term treatment plan for acute diverticulitis.diverticulitis_colon_inflamed

How to Prevent Diverticulitis


There are a few things you can do to prevent diverticulitis.

First, eat a high fiber diet.
This will help to keep your bowel movements regular.

Second, drink plenty of water. This will help to keep your intestines hydrated.

Third, exercise regularly. This will help to keep your intestines working properly.

Another prevention would be to avoid smoking.  Smoking is associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis.

Finally, if you have any medical conditions that could contribute to diverticulitis, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Risk Factors for Diverticulitis


There are a few different things that can increase your risk for diverticulitis.

First, if you have a family member who has had the condition, you may be more likely to get it yourself.

Additionally, being obese or having a history of smoking can also increase your risk.

Lastly, having a chronic condition like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can make you more susceptible to developing diverticulitis.

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor so you can be monitored closely.


How is Diverticulitis Treated?


Diverticulitis can lead to serious complications, such as perforation of the intestine, abscesses, and fistulas.

There are a few different treatments for diverticulitis. Some cases may clear up on their own, but some are more severe.

Treatment for diverticulitis typically involves antibiotics to clear the infection and surgery to remove the pockets.






Although these remedies and guidelines might alleviate the pain, it is recommended to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor or gastroenterologist in order to discuss the way forward.

A colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure that can save your life.

It’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare so you can be as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to treat diverticulitis. The best approach depends on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health.

If you have mild diverticulitis, you may be able to manage your symptoms at home with rest and a liquid diet.

If you have moderate to severe diverticulitis, you’ll likely need antibiotics and a hospital stay. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

No matter what treatment approach you need, the goal is always the same: to relieve your symptoms and prevent complications.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867. 


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.