Living with Diverticulitis – What to Do When the Condition Hits You

 When you are diagnosed with diverticulitis, your first reaction might be a combination of fear and panic. This is expected in most patients who have just found out they have a medical condition. However, with the right information about the condition, it is easy to know what to do and what not to do so your life can become normal. Living with diverticulitis entails, first and foremost, an effort on your part to read up on the condition you have and make the necessary changes to win the battle.

You have diverticulitis because the small pouches, more aptly known as diveticula, which have formed in and clung to the walls of your large intestine or colon, are already inflamed or infected. In the beginning, when the small pouches form, the condition is known as diverticulosis. An estimated 20% of the patients of diverticulosis suffer from the progression of the condition into diverticulitis. Your age plays a small role as far as diveticulitis is concerned. Middle-aged persons, as well as the elderly, are the usual targets of the condition, but younger persons – as young as 20 years old – can also be hit. People with central obesity are more likely to develop diverticulitis some time in their lives.

Diverticulitis manifests varying symptoms according to the degree or severity of the condition. Mild attacks include very few signs or symptoms of inflammation or infection of the diverticula, and respond well to therapy and sometimes even heal without undergoing any form of treatment. Severe attacks, on the other hand, are normally characterized by sharp, shooting pains in the lower left side of the abdominal area. This location is what differentiates diverticulitis from appendicitis, which includes pain in the right side of said body part. However, there are rare cases where right-sided diverticula develop. When you are living with diverticulitis, any pain in the abdominal area thus warrants an immediate check-up just to be sure. Severe attacks have to be treated, without a doubt, in the hospital. Treatment for highly progressed symptoms of inflammation and infection includes a liquid diet, intravenous antibiotics, and calming the bowel via intravenous fluids.

Diverticulitis, especially when it is repetitive and severe, is considered a serious condition. This is because such form of the condition can lead to complications, some life-threatening or potentially fatal. When you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis, it is best to seek treatment right away and strictly follow doctor’s orders. When left untreated, your diverticulitis may bring about the development of a fistula or an abscess. When complications arise, surgery is often the only remaining solution. Surgery is no doubt expensive and risky, but when your diverticulitis turns severe, the health risks that the complications present are even more costly than surgery itself.

The things that you can expect after experiencing a diverticulitis attack are usually confined to pain or discomfort in the lower abdominal area. Some patients have reported a gradual increase in the intensity of the pain throughout the day. Second attacks are unlikely to occur within a year and don’t immediately mean chronic diverticulitis. Your doctor can tell you whether your condition is acute or chronic, and should recommend the proper treatment so that you can cope with living with diverticulitis.