Severe abdominal pain and a change in bowel habits can develop from a number of causes. But if you have a history of diverticulosis, you may be experiencing another flareup, which requires immediate medical management. The experienced team at Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diverticulitis and can provide the care you need to improve your symptoms and reduce your risk of complications. Call the Macon, Georgia, office today.
Diverticulosis refers to the formation of pouches, referred to as diverticula, along the wall of your large intestines. It’s estimated that by age 60, nearly 60% of adults have these pouches. For most, diverticulosis doesn’t cause any symptoms or discomfort other than mild cramping or constipation.
However, if one the pouches becomes inflamed or infected, you may experience a range of symptoms that can lead to health complications.
Diverticulitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of your diverticula. Though diverticulitis can lead to debilitating symptoms and potential complications, this only occurs in about 5% of those with diverticulosis.
You may experience a variety of symptoms with diverticulitis that range in type and severity. Common symptoms include:
The pain you experience may be constant and last for days and generally occurs on the lower left side of the abdominal area. However, you can also experience pain on the right side.
You may be at greater risk of developing the acute condition if you’re obese, smoke cigarettes, don’t get enough exercise, or eat a low-fiber diet. Your risk of developing diverticulitis also increases as you get older.
You should seek medical care anytime you’re experiencing prolonged abdominal pain accompanied by constipation or diarrhea and a fever. It’s especially important to seek out care if you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulosis.
If not properly treated, your diverticulitis may lead to additional health issues, such as an abscess, blockage in your colon, or a fistula. It’s also possible that your inflamed diverticula may rupture and allowing the contents of your colon to leak into your abdominal cavity leading to peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity), which requires immediate medical attention.
The board-certified gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia develop individualized treatment plans for the management of diverticulitis based on the severity of your infection. For mild diverticulitis, the team may prescribe antibiotics and bowel rest to resolve your symptoms.
If your diverticulitis is severe and you’re experiencing complications, the team may suggest hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and drainage of your abscess. In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove the infected portion of your large intestine.
Diverticulitis isn’t common but can lead to serious health complications. For expert care from an experienced team, call Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia today.