Diverticular Disease

The animation of Understanding Diverticular Disease.

Understanding Diverticular Disease in Colorado

At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates, we understand that digestive health is an essential part of overall wellness. Diverticular disease is a common condition that affects many people in Colorado, and our team is here to help you understand what it is, its causes, and available treatment options. Diverticular disease can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it is manageable. At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates, our team of experienced gastroenterologists is dedicated to helping patients understand their condition and to developing an effective diverticular disease treatment plan to improve their quality of life.

What Is Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular disease is a condition in which small, bulging pouches or sacs called diverticula form on the lining of the colon. Diverticular disease is a term that refers to both diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the presence of diverticula without inflammation or infection, while diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become inflamed or infected. In severe cases, diverticulitis can cause complications like abscesses, perforations, or fistulas.

What Causes Diverticular Disease?

The exact cause of diverticular disease is not fully understood. However, it is believed that a low-fiber diet may contribute to the development of diverticula. When the colon must work harder to pass stool due to a lack of fiber, pressure builds up inside the colon, leading to the formation of diverticula.

Who Is at Risk for Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular disease is more common in older adults. People over the age of 50 are at higher risk of developing diverticulosis, and the risk increases as one ages. Other factors that can increase the risk of diverticular disease include:

  • A diet low in fiber and high in fat
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications like opioids or steroids

What Are the Symptoms of Diverticular Disease?

Diverticulosis often does not cause any symptoms, and many people may not even know they have it. However, when diverticulitis occurs, symptoms can be severe and include:

  • Abdominal pain, usually in the lower left side
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Bloating and gas

How Is Diverticular Disease Diagnosed?

Diverticular disease can be diagnosed through various tests, including:

  • Colonoscopy
  • CT scan
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests

If you are experiencing any symptoms, it is essential to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to get an accurate diagnosis.

How Is Diverticular Disease Treated?

Treatment for diverticular disease depends on the severity of the condition. For mild cases of diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend:

  • Antibiotics
  • A clear liquid diet
  • Pain relievers

For severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary, and your doctor may recommend:

  • Intravenous (IV) antibiotics
  • Surgery to remove the affected part of the colon

Long-term treatment involves making lifestyle changes such as incorporating more fiber into your diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.

Request an Appointment Today

If you are experiencing symptoms of diverticular disease, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates, our team is here to help you understand your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan to improve your digestive health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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