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Causes & Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when pouches called “diverticula” are formed in the colon wall. This condition can become very painful if the pouches are infected or inflamed. Doctors are unsure what causes diverticulitis. There may be some factors that contribute to it, however, such as a lack of fiber in the diet, which requires the colon to exert excess effort to push stool through. This consistent, sustained pressure may lead to the formation of the pouches in weak areas on the wall of the colon. If you think you may have diverticulitis or any other gastrointestinal disorder, contact your gastroenterologist at Washington Township Medical Foundation for an appointment.

Do I Have Diverticulitis?

Some of the symptoms of diverticulitis may include:

  • Belly pain that gets worse with movement, particularly on the lower left side of your abdomen
  • Fever and chills
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms. Blood tests including a complete blood count (CBC) and tests such as an X-ray or CT scan can help determine whether or not you have diverticulitis. This condition may be treated with medications to help with the pain as well as a course of antibiotics. In some cases, surgical may be necessary. The best way to prevent diverticulitis from occurring in the first place is to drink lots of water, make sure to eat plenty of fiber, and to get regular exercise. Sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.

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