Perforated diverticulitis can be considered as a very serious gastrointestinal condition, which is characterized by the perforation of intestinal walls. It can lead to peritonitis, which can be described as an inflammation of peritoneal cavity. If not treated properly, peritonitis can be a life-threatening condition. The patients with perforated diverticulitis generally require emergency surgical treatment.
The condition begins with diverticulosis, the formation of small pouches, called diverticula, along the intestinal walls. When the hard stool passes through the bowels weakened due to aging, the pressure inside the colon increases, leading to the formation of diverticula. The condition is also associated with consumption of low-fiber diet. When the pouches become infected and inflamed, it gives rise to the painful symptoms like pain and tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. In chronic and severe cases of diverticulitis, there is a possibility of rupturing of infected diverticulum, leading to perforated diverticulitis. In perforated diverticulitis, single or more diverticula may break open to leak pus and other materials in the abdomen, which may result in inflammation and infection. In case of perforated diverticulitis, the patient experiences extreme pain and tenderness. There may also be high fever and malaise.
How to Cure Perforated Diverticulitis
Perforated diverticulitis is a life-threatening condition and should be considered as a medical emergency. Surgery is the recommended option for treating perforated diverticulitis. The surgical treatment involves cleaning up the abdomen and resecting the damaged area in the bowel. The perforated area of the colon is cut out and then two ends are connected together by the procedure called anastomosis.
During the emergency surgery for perforated diverticulitis, the ruptured section of the colon is removed and colostomy is performed. In colostomy, an opening is created between the large intestine and the surface of the abdominal skin. The upper part of intestine is connected to the opening. The fecal matter passes out of the body through the opening into the disposable bag. The cut ends of the large intestine are rejoined in a subsequent surgery, which is carried out within 10-12 weeks.
The surgery for perforated diverticulitis can be done in two ways, such as a primary bowel resection or bowel resection with colostomy. Both types of surgeries can be done in the traditional way or by the laparoscopic surgery. The traditional bowel resection is done by open surgical approach, called colectomy. In colectomy, the affected portion of the colon is removed and two healthy ends are sewn together. Most surgeons prefer laparoscopy surgery, due to less post-operative pain and fast recovery.
Diverticulitis diet is also an important part of diverticulitis treatment. When the symptoms are severe, you are advised to take only a liquid diet in order to relax the bowels. The clear liquid diet includes plain water, clear soda, ice chips, ice pops without addition of fruits bits or pulp, fruit juices like apple or grape juice and tea or coffee without cream. Once the symptoms are reduced, you may start with low-fiber foods like canned or cooked fruits without skin or seeds, canned or cooked vegetables like peas, potatoes, fruit juice without pulp, poultry, eggs, fish and low-fiber cereals. Once you are completely recovered, you can switch to the normal diet.