How to Treat Recurrent Diverticulitis

Recurrent Diverticulitis Diverticulitis is a relatively common condition of the digestive system, which is characterized by inflammation of diverticula. Diverticula can be described as the small sacs or pouches that are developed along the intestinal wall. The condition is known as diverticulosis. The most common site to develop diverticula is large intestine or colon.

Diverticulitis is more prevalent in people of the age more than 40. The reason behind this is the intestinal wall becomes weak with aging. The pressure inside the colon increases, when the stool passes through the bowels, which leads to the formation of diverticula. The formation of diverticula is also associated with consumption of low-fiber diet. Fiber helps to soften the stool, so that it can easily pass through the intestine.

A lack of fiber can cause constipation. Long-term constipation can increase the pressure inside the colon, when passing the stool, causing diverticulosis. Some other factors that can contribute to diverticulosis are obesity, lack of exercise and smoking.

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Symptoms of Diverticulitis

The symptoms of diverticulitis typically develop very rapidly, within several hours. The most significant symptom is persistent pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. The pain is usually so severe that people with diverticulitis need to seek emergency medical treatment. Abdominal tenderness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel habits and fever may also accompany diverticulitis.

How to Treat Recurrent Diverticulitis

The first bout of diverticulitis can be treated with medications like antibiotics and anti-spasmodic drugs. Medications should be accompanied with dietary changes such as increased fluid intake and enough rest. If the pain is severe, or if complications are developed, then hospitalization is necessary for giving intravenous antibiotics.

About 30-40% of people with diverticulitis may not develop the disease again. However, some people may have subsequent episodes, particularly 2 or more recurrent attacks of diverticulitis. In such cases, surgery is often required to remove the damaged portion of the colon. If you have first attack of diverticulitis at the age of 50 or younger, then you are at the increased risk of having the second or third episode of diverticulitis.

Most patients with recurrent diverticulitis can be managed with non-operative treatment. Uncomplicated cases of diverticulitis can be treated with medications and simple changes in lifestyle and diet. The doctor usually recommends broad-spectrum antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, cephalexin, metronidazole and doxycycline. The medications should be accompanied with clear liquid diet, which may include plain water, clear soda, plain gelatin, ice chips and pulp-less fruit juices. The purpose of liquid diet is to keep the bowels resting for some period. When the symptoms are reduced, slow progression to high-fiber diet is advisable. Once you are completely recovered, you are recommended to have fiber-rich foods like whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, fresh fruits like pears, apples and prunes, vegetables like peas, squash and spinach as well as beans like kidney beans and black beans to prevent recurrent diverticulitis attacks. When taking high-fiber diet, you should drink plenty of water and fluids in order to prevent constipation.

Diverticulitis surgery is recommended for those with recurrent episodes of diverticulitis. The purpose of surgery is to remove the affected bowel segment, control sepsis and restore bowel function. The surgical treatment involves removal of diseased segment of the colon and then reconnecting the remaining parts.

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