We've decided to add a few pages about the condition Diverticulitis after receiving some mail from sufferers of IBS who suggested that it might be worth doing an article on this illness because Diverticulitis-symptoms are very similar to IBS symptoms.
There are also various other conditions related to problems with the bowel including Celiac disease and Chrohns disease that unfortunately have more or less the same symptoms as each other. This means that it can prove a real challenge for a doctor to diagnose exactly what is wrong with someone who complains of symptoms that are very similar to other illnesses.
It highlights the importance of always seeking proper medical advice via your GP because they will be able to do all the relevant checks and tests to eliminate certain conditions and narrow your symptoms down to come to an accurate diagnosis.
It's always vital that your doctor comes to a complete diagnosis (and not self diagnosis by reading stuff off the internet) because then you can get the correct help and treatment to get yourself well again.
It's important to make a distinction between Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis symptoms.
The former is where small pouches (called diverticula) have formed in the intestines due to too much straining, because of constipation for example, but haven't been infected or inflamed. It's likely that you may have mild cramps, bloating or constipation.
Small pouches are quite common and up to 1 in 10 people develop Diverticulosis in their lives and have no symptoms at all. Up to 25% of people who have Diverticulosis go on to develop Diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis can often be kept in-check, and flare-ups can be avoided by using a
diet sheet for Diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis symptoms include the following -
Feeling hot or Chills
Tenderness around the abdomen, normally on the left hand side
It's possible that the blocked diverticulum can start to cause further blockages around the surrounding colon , which stops food moving through the intestines adequately. A severe blockage may need surgery to un-plug it and to get the colon flowing properly again.
If left untreated a very small amount of cases can develop with some more serious complications if an inflamed diverticulum bursts open due to too much pressure.
When this happens bacteria can leak out and infection can spread into the lining of the abdominal cavity leading to a potentially fatal case of peritonitis.
Obviously if this happens then you would be in an awful lot of pain and would require immediate emergency medical assistance.
Abscesses and Fistulas are another possible complication arising from Diverticulitis.
Abscesses are caused when an area becomes infected and filled with pus. These are normally treated with antibiotics to clear the infection or in more advanced cases they can be drained via a needle and catheter.
A Fistula occurs when a passageway is formed between one part of the intestine with other parts of the intestine or body. Surgery is often required to correct this.
So in summary a case of Diverticulosis can lead on to Diverticulitis which in turn if not treated can lead on to other nasty stuff.
Therefore, it makes it very important that if you start to feel the symptoms listed above and it gets worse you MUST see a doctor so that they can fix you.
That way if you are diagnosed with Diverticulitis you can receive adequate medical help / treatment from a qualified doctor and advice on preventing it turning into something worse.
What's new on this site?
Click here for all the latest IBS updates, stories and blog entries.