More than 50% of Americans over age 60 have diverticulosis — the precursor to diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is a common condition that develops when the inner layer of your intestine pushes through the outer lining, creating small pouches along your digestive tract.
Diverticulosis doesn’t usually cause symptoms, but sometimes, those pouches can get inflamed or infected. When that happens, diverticulitis develops, and you may experience symptoms like severe abdominal pain and nausea.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis, you might be wondering whether there’s a cure and what your treatment options are. As intestine surgery specialists, Rachel Alt, MD, and Brian Prebil, DO, offer diverticulitis surgery at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, located in Peoria, Arizona.
We take a conservative approach to diverticulitis care. Now is the time to find out more about your treatment options.
Try nonsurgical diverticulitis treatment first
Diverticulitis develops when diverticulosis, or small pouches in your intestines, get inflamed or infected. Although it can happen to anyone, your risk increases as you get older.
If you’re diagnosed with mild diverticulitis, your first line of treatment may be at-home care. We may recommend a liquid diet for a few days to give your intestines a chance to heal. If you have an infection, we may prescribe a round of antibiotics.
In more severe cases, you may need to be hospitalized. Treatment could include intravenous (IV) antibiotics or a tube to drain an abdominal abscess.
Colon surgery to treat persistent diverticulitis
Many people with acute diverticulitis find that it improves with nonsurgical care and lifestyle changes. However, severe diverticulitis or related complications may necessitate colon surgery.
About 25% of people with diverticulitis develop complications that may include:
- Bowel blockage
If you have one of these complications or if your diverticulitis keeps coming back, we may recommend surgery for longer-lasting relief. Surgery can be an effective treatment option for severe or recurrent diverticulitis because we can remove that portion of your intestine and the diverticulosis pockets.
However, it’s important to note that even if you have surgery for diverticulitis, it’s possible to develop it again.
Lower your risk of diverticulitis
Whether or not you have colon surgery for diverticulitis, talk to our doctors about ways to lower your risk of diverticulitis in the future. You may be able to reduce your risk of diverticulitis with lifestyle changes, including:
- Eating a high-fiber diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
Your medications could also affect your risk of diverticulitis. We can review your medications and make recommendations, such as adding a probiotic to boost gut health. Remember that you should never start or stop taking medication without checking with our health care team first.
Looking for diverticulitis treatment that makes a difference? Our team can help. Call our Peoria, Arizona, office at 623-227-2581 or send us a message online to get started.