Diverticular disease, also known as diverticulosis, affects around 35% of American adults over the age of 50 and that figure jumps to 58% after the age of 60. At Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Gurnee, Evanston, Skokie, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Highland Park, & Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, the board-certified gastroenterologists provide comprehensive diagnostics and treatments to manage your diverticular disease and any resulting symptoms. Call or use the online scheduler to book an appointment at your nearest clinic today.
Diverticular disease is a condition that causes small bulges or sacs called diverticula to form in the walls of your large intestine. These sacs are most commonly found in the lower part of your large intestine, known as the sigmoid colon.
If you have diverticula without any symptoms, you are said to have diverticulosis. While this condition isn’t deadly, it can lead to more serious complications like diverticulitis. Diverticulitis happens when the sacs become inflamed and burst, causing diverticular bleeding.
Diverticulitis can result in symptoms like:
If fever and constipation or diarrhea accompany your abdominal pain, see a specialist at Illinois Gastroenterology Group.
Since diverticular disease often has no visible symptoms, regular screenings at Illinois Gastroenterology Group is the best way to catch it early.
If your case is more advanced, and you have pain in your abdomen, your doctor performs a thorough physical exam and orders additional tests to rule out other causes of abdominal pain.
To confirm a case of diverticulitis, your doctor can use a CT scan to identify inflamed sacs in your small intestine. They may also use a colonoscopy procedure to positively diagnose your condition.
During a colonoscopy, your doctor inserts a small, flexible tube with a fiberoptic light and camera at the end of your rectum.
The camera and light provide a well-lit, magnified image of the inside of your intestine so your doctor can visually identify any diverticula and assess how inflamed they are.
If you have mild or no symptoms, your doctor may recommend a high-fiber diet or fiber supplements and medication to help pain or bloating.
These are preventive measures that can help prevent the sacs from causing symptoms. They may also prescribe antibiotics and a liquid diet to ease your symptoms.
More advanced cases may require a hospital stay with intravenous antibiotics and a period of fasting. If your case is severe and you have diverticular bleeding, your doctor may use a CT scan or colonoscopy to identify the site of the bleeding and stop it.
If you develop complications from diverticulitis, like an abscess, perforation, or fistula, your doctor can suggest various types of surgery to treat these issues and prevent further complications.
To learn more about the various types of treatments available for diverticular disease, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment today.