Treating and Preventing Diverticulitis

Treating and Preventing Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is the painful bacterial infection and inflammation of diverticula, or small, bulging pouches in the digestive system, most often in the lower part of the colon. Symptoms may include sudden, severe abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, fevers, chills, nausea or vomiting. Mild cases can be treated with rest, healthy diet changes and antibiotics to clear up the infection. The goal of treating diverticulitis is to prevent diverticula, or pouches, from forming. You doctor may recommend that you:

Increase the fiber in your diet. This will likely not prevent diverticulitis, but it may help to reduce the symptoms. Foods that are high in fiber include whole grains, pears, apples, prunes, leafy greens, and beans. If you aren’t getting a sufficient amount of fiber in your diet, your doctor may recommend a fiber supplement like methylcellulose or psyllium. Click here [link to:] for more ideas about increasing the amount of fiber in your diet.

Take a medication like mesalazine to reduce abdominal pain and bloating or the antibiotic rifaximin to destroy the bacteria causing the infection.

Include a probiotic in your daily routine. Studies have shown that these live strains of bacteria, like those that occur naturally in your stomach and intestines, can help minimize the symptoms of diverticulitis. Probiotics can be taken in capsule, tablet or powder form, and also occur naturally in fermented foods like yogurt or sauerkraut. Click here to learn more about probiotics.

Take the first step on your journey to a healthy life

For more severe cases, doctors may recommend a liquid diet for short time. If the colon requires even more time to heal, you may need to receive nutrition via IV, as well as antibiotics. However, those experiencing severe or recurring diverticulitis or any major complication associated with diverticulitis may require surgery.

Diverticulitis surgery, called bowel resection or partial colectomy, involves removing the diseased portion of the colon and reconnecting the remaining parts. Depending on the severity, multiple surgeries may be required to completely rid the colon of the diseased diverticula.

What to Expect When You Need a Bowel Resection

Bowel resection requires patients to go under general anesthesia. Recovery time is generally four to 14 days. However, in the event more surgeries are required or a colostomy becomes necessary, expect recovery time to significantly increase to six weeks or more. This surgery enjoys a relatively high success rate, but with any surgery, complications can arise, which include scar tissue, leaks between the joined sections of the colon or injury to the bladder, ureters or blood vessels.

Bowel resections can also be performed laparoscopically, depending on the particulars of the case. Those particulars also determine the cost, which can range from $2,000 to over $6,000, with the average cost being around $4,600. At IBI Healthcare Institute, we value quality, affordability and honesty and do everything possible to work with our patients to meet their needs, both physically and financially. If you are in need of surgery to correct your diverticulitis, contact us for a consultation.