What are the complications of diverticulosis?
Diverticulitis can lead to complications such as infections, perforations or tears, blockages, or bleeding. These complications always require treatment to prevent them from progressing and causing serious illness.
With time, the diverticula may get infected. Stool or food that is not broken down can get trapped in the diverticula and cause swelling and pain. A diverticulum can become infected with bacteria and ruptures, causing diverticulitis. Fever, and pain and tenderness of the lower left abdomen are common symptoms. Constipation or diarrhea may also occur.
A collection of pus can develop around the inflamed diverticulum, leading to formation of an abscess, usually in the pelvis. On rare occasions, the inflamed diverticula can erode into the urinary bladder, causing bladder infection and passing of gas during urination. Inflammation in the colon can also lead to bowel obstruction. Infrequently, a diverticulum ruptures freely into the abdominal cavity causing a life threatening infection called peritonitis.
Diverticular bleeding occurs when stool erodes into a blood vessel at the base of a diverticulum. A small blood vessel in a diverticulum may weaken and finally burst causing you to see blood in your BMs or in the toilet. Bleeding can get very bad but it may stop by itself so you may not need treatment. Call your caregiver if you have bleeding from your rectum. You may need surgery if the bleeding does not stop. Rectal passage of red, dark or maroon-colored blood and clots occur without any associated abdominal pain. Rarely, blood may be black in those bleeding from a diverticulum of the right colon. Bleeding may be continuous or intermittent, lasting several days. Patients with active bleeding are usually hospitalized for monitoring. Intravenous fluids are given to support the blood pressure. Blood transfusions are necessary for those with moderate to severe blood loss. In a rare individual with brisk and severe bleeding, blood pressure can drop, causing dizziness, shock, and loss of consciousness. In most patients, bleeding stops spontaneously and they are sent home after several days in the hospital. Patients with persistent, severe bleeding require surgical removal of the bleeding diverticula.
A fistula is an abnormal connection of tissue between two organs or between an organ and the skin. When damaged tissues come into contact with each other during infection, they sometimes stick together. If they heal that way, a fistula forms. When diverticulitis-related infection spreads outside the colon, the colon's tissue may stick to nearby tissues. The most common organs involved are the urinary bladder, small intestine, and skin. The most common type of fistula occurs between the bladder and the colon. It affects men more than women. This type of fistula can result in a severe, long-lasting infection of the urinary tract. The problem can be corrected with surgery to remove the fistula and the affected part of the colon.
The scarring caused by infection may cause partial or total blockage of the large intestine. When this happens, the colon is unable to move bowel contents normally. When the obstruction totally blocks the intestine, emergency surgery is necessary. Partial blockage is not an emergency, so the surgery to correct it can be planned.
More information on diverticular disease
What is diverticular disease? - Diverticular disease is a condition in which small pouches, called diverticula, develop in the wall of the colon, or large intestine.
What causes diverticular disease? - Diverticular disease essentially results from eating a diet with too little fiber. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest.
What are the symptoms of diverticular disease? - The major symptoms of diverticular disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramps, alteration of bowel habit and occasionally, severe rectal bleeding.
How is diverticular disease diagnosed? - A complete diagnostic work-up for diverticular disease including colonoscopy, and radiological examinations are the basic tools for initial investigation.
What are the complications of diverticular disease? - Complications of diverticulosis include bleeding, infection, perforation, abscess fistula formation, and obstruction.
What is the treatment for diverticular disease? - The only treatment for mild diverticulosis is to increase fiber in the diet. For diverticulitis, antibiotics will be prescribed.
High fiber diet for diverticular diseases - Good sources of fiber for diverticular diseases include whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and a dietary supplement of fiber products.
What is diverticulitis? - Diverticulitis is a common condition in which abnormal pouches (diverticula) in the wall of the colon become inflamed.
What are the complications of diverticulitis? - Complications of diverticulitis may include a blockage in colon, an abscess or a fistula. Peritonitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care.
What causes diverticulitis? - Diverticulitis can only occur in people who have diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is more common in people who have a low intake of fiber in their diets.
What're the symtoms of diverticulitis? - Symptoms of diverticulitis are due to the muscle abnormality and consist of pain, often abdominal distension, an irregular bowel habit with pellet-like stools.
How is diverticulitis diagnosed? - Diverticulitis is suspected after a history and physical examination. Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed during an acute attack.
What are the treatments for diverticulitis? - Treatment of diverticulitis depends on the severity of symptoms and whether this is a first attack of diverticulitis.
What's the diverticulitis surgery? - Emergency surgery is necessary for people whose intestine has ruptured; intestinal rupture always results in infection of the abdominal cavity.
What is diverticulosis? - Diverticulosis is a condition in which small outpouchings of the colon wall develop through time. Diverticula may develop anywhere in the large intestine.
What causes diverticulosis? - A low fibre diet can lead to small, hard stools which are difficult to pass. The pouches that develop are called diverticula.
What are the symptoms of diverticulosis? - Diverticulosis do not have any signs or symptoms. Diverticulosis can sometimes cause unexplained painful cramps, diarrhea or other bowel movement disturbances.
What are the complications of diverticulosis? - Diverticulitis can lead to complications such as infections, perforations or tears, blockages, or bleeding.
How is diverticulosis diagnosed? - Diverticulosis is suspected when symptoms such as unexplained painful cramps, diarrhea or other bowel movement disturbances, or rectal bleeding are present.
What is the treatment for diverticulosis? - The goal of treatment for diverticulosis is usually to reduce intestinal spasms, which is best achieved by maintaining a high-fiber diet (which consists of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) and drinking plenty of fluids.