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Diverticular DiseaseConditions
Overview

Diverticular disease (diverticulosis) is a condition that often affects older people, where small pouches, called diverticula, form in the wall of the digestive tract, most commonly in the colon. Most of the time these pouches don't cause any problems. Around half of people over 65 in the US have this condition without symptoms. However, sometimes diverticular disease can lead to discomfort.

Symptoms

When diverticuli become inflamed or infected, symptoms can be mild or intense. Symptoms may include fever, cramping, usually on the lower left side of the abdomen, bloating, and changes in how you use the bathroom. Sometimes, these symptoms can worsen and progress to perforation or abscess in the abdomen. Occasionally, chronic symptoms may occur from diverticulosis, such as pain with bowel movements. Sometimes, diverticulosis can cause GI bleeding, which is often painless. 

Testing

Your doctor might recommend a few tests to find out if you have active diverticular disease. These could include scans, colonoscopic examinations, and imaging of the colon. 

Treatment

If you have diverticular disease, there are different ways to help you feel better: 

Diet and Lifestyle: Eating foods high in fiber and drinking enough water can make your stool softer, which helps your colon work better. This reduces the pressure on your colon and can prevent further problems. 

Treating Infections: Sometimes, the pouches can get infected, causing pain and other symptoms. Resting your digestive system with a clear liquid diet and taking antibiotics can help the infection go away. 

Severe Cases: If you have severe infections often, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the part of your colon with the pouches. This surgery is usually done in a minimally invasive way. 

Diverticular Bleeding: If you have bleeding from the pouches, you might need to be in the hospital. Usually, the bleeding stops on its own. If it doesn't, doctors can use different methods to stop the bleeding, such as colonoscopy, surgery, or special radiographic procedures. 

Remember, if you're having intense pain, fever, or bleeding, it's essential to see a doctor right away.