There is no sure known cause for the development of diverticulitis, although it is believed that a low-fiber diet may play a role. A diet without fiber can lead to hard stools causing constipation. If the stools do not exit the body, they can become trapped in the pouches and grow bacteria, causing diverticulitis.
Symptoms of diverticulitis can include but are not limited to the following:
- Abdominal pain, usually in the lower left side
- Fever and chills
- Blood in the stool
- Bloating and gas
- Constipation or cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
Diverticulitis is a common colon condition affecting both men and women equally, with the risk increasing with age. About half of adults over the age of 60 are affected by diverticulitis.
Risk factors for diverticulitis may include:
- Too little fiber
- Lack of exercise
Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine if you have diverticulitis, your physician may perform several tests that may include:
- Blood test
- CT scan
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and if you have an infection. Most of the symptoms can be treated at home. Treatments may include:
- Change in diet
- Heating pad for abdominal pain
- Relaxation techniques
For more serious cases of diverticulitis, your physician may suggest surgery to remove the area of the affected colon.