Diverticulitis is a painful condition of digestive system that results from the inflammation of diverticula. Diverticula can be described as the small, bulging pouches or sacs that are developed along the lining of intestinal walls. The formation of diverticula is known as diverticulosis. Usually, this condition is harmless and doesn’t exhibit any symptoms. Diverticula may be formed anywhere in the digestive system. However, large intestine or colon is the most common site.
Diverticulosis is associated with aging. With advanced age, the intestinal walls become weak, due to which, the pressure inside the colon increases while the stool passes through the bowel. As a result, there is formation of diverticula along the lining of intestinal wall. When diverticula protrude through the colonic wall, they may get infected and inflamed, leading to diverticulitis. Diverticulitis may exhibit the symptoms like abdominal pain and tenderness, loss of appetite, nausea and sometimes vomiting, alteration in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation. Intake of less amount of fiber is also another cause for developing diverticulosis. Fiber is essential to soften the stool, so that it can easily pass through the intestines. Being overweight, lack of exercise and unhealthy habits like smoking and alcoholism are some other causative factors.
In chronic and severe cases of diverticulitis, there may develop certain complications like abscess, formation of fistula, perforation, infection and peritonitis. If not treated promptly, these complications may be proved to be life-threatening.
An abscess formed in the colon is the most common complication of diverticulitis. The formation of diverticular abscess depends upon the ability of pericolic tissues to localize the spread of inflammatory process. An abscess can be described as a cavity or lump filled with pus in the tissue. When the abscess is formed, it may exhibit the symptoms like fever with or without leukocytosis.
Diverticulitis Abscess Treatment
Abscess from diverticulitis can be treated in various ways depending upon the size and type of abscess. If the abscess is small-sized, it can be treated using antibiotics. Abscesses are treated with the help of a technique called percutaneous abscess drainage (PAD). The radiologist makes use of ultrasound or CT scanner to locate the site of abscess. A small tube, to which a fine needle is connected, is passed through the abdominal skin into the abscess. The pus is drained from the abscess with the help of the tube. Since PAD is performed under local anesthesia, it is usually not much painful. Depending upon the size of abscess, the procedure may need to be repeated many times to drain all the pus. Additionally, antibiotics are used alongside drainage in order to eliminate infection and prevent its spreading.
If the abscess is too large in the size to be drained, or if needle drainage has not successfully removed all the pus, then the surgery may be needed to remove the pus. Sometimes, a plastic drain is placed in the abdomen to drain the abscess. Once the pus is drained completely, it can be removed.
The complications developed from diverticulitis are quite painful and serious. So, the condition needs to be diagnosed and treated promptly. You should maintain healthy lifestyle with strict diet and regular exercises to avoid the condition becoming worse.