Diverticulitis
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

About half of all Americans ages 60 to 80 have diverticulosis, a condition where small pouches bulge outward through weak spots in the inner lining of the intestine. When the pouches become infected or inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Diverticulitis is an inflammation of abnormal pouches called diverticula that develop inside the walls of your intestine.

These small protruding sacs can develop in any part of the intestine but are most common in the colon. In diverticulitis, the area around the diverticula becomes irritated and can get infected. Older people are at a higher risk, as are those with a history of diverticula or prior episodes of diverticulitis.

Symptoms can include abdominal pain, chills, fever, constipation or diarrhea. The condition may also be accompanied by bloody stools, nausea and vomiting and can result in perforation, obstruction or abscess.

Usually, the condition is mild and responds well to treatment. Acute diverticulitis often requires antibiotic therapy and hospitalization.  Surgical removal of part of the colon may be required for recurrent attacks or complications.

People with diverticula of the colon can reduce their risk of problems by modifying their diet. They should eat a high fiber diet. Six weeks or so following a diverticulitis attack, a colon evaluation should be considered.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.