Diverticulitis arises, when the pouches formed in the intestinal wall get inflamed. These pouches or sacs are known as diverticula and their formation is called as diverticulosis. These pouches are bulging and pushed outward through the weak spots in the intestinal wall. Although, diverticula may be formed anywhere in the digestive system, large intestine or colon is the most common site to develop diverticulosis. Generally, diverticulosis doesn’t cause any symptoms or very mild symptoms like mild abdominal pain. When diverticula get infected and inflamed, it causes the painful symptoms, which need to be attended immediately.
Causes and Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Although exact causes are not confirmed yet, diverticulitis is mainly linked with aging. With aging, intestinal wall becomes weak. When the stool passes through the weakened intestine, it causes increased pressure inside the colon, resulting in the formation of diverticula. When fecal matter gets trapped in the pouches, diverticula get infected, causing inflammation. Intake of low-fiber foods is another important cause of diverticulitis. Fiber helps to make the stool soft and bulky, which can easily pass through the bowels without causing pressure. It helps to prevent constipation and in turn, diverticulosis. Some other factors that can make the person prone to develop diverticulitis are obesity, inactive lifestyle, lack of exercise and unhealthy habits like smoking and alcoholism.
Diverticulitis can cause the symptoms like pain and tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen, bloating, flatulence, loss of appetite, nausea, sometimes vomiting and altered bowel movements like constipation or diarrhea. The patient may also experience high fever and malaise. In chronic cases of diverticulitis, there may develop some complications like formation of fistula, abscess, perforation and peritonitis. Ruptured intestine is a serious complication of diverticulitis, which should be taken as medical emergency. It often results in infection of the abdominal cavity.
Ruptured Diverticulitis Treatment
The only option to treat ruptured diverticulitis is surgery. Emergency surgery is needed to remove ruptured intestine. During the surgery, the ruptured section is removed and then colostomy is performed. The first stage of surgery involves resection and primary anastomosis. For the surgery, the patient should have a well-vascularized, nonedematous and tension-free bowel. The diverticulitis surgery can be done in two ways, either through a primary bowel resection or through a bowel resection with colostomy. Both the types of surgeries can be done in the traditional way or by laparoscopic surgery. The traditional bowel resection is done by using open surgical approach, known as colectomy. When performing colectomy, the patient needs to be given general anesthesia. An incision is made in the lower midline or a lateral lower transverse line of the abdomen. The affected portion of the intestine is removed and two healthy ends are stapled together. The bowel needs to be relived of its normal digestive function, when it is healing. For this purpose, a colostomy is performed. The colostomy involves creating a temporary opening of the colon on the surface of abdominal skin. The end of the colon is passed through the abdominal wall, to which a removable bag is attached. The fecal matter is collected in this bag. This bag is temporary and can be removed, when the intestine completely heals and comes back to its normal functioning.
Now a day, most of the surgeons prefer laparoscopic surgery for bowel resection. The major advantage of laparascopic surgery over an open surgery is reduced post-operative pain and less recovery time. The laparascopic surgery is less invasive procedure, which involves three to four small incisions made in the abdomen.