Your intestines play an essential role in digestion. They’re about 25 feet long, and they connect your stomach to your rectum. As food travels through your digestive system, your intestines absorb water, electrolytes, and nutrients to fuel your body.

But as you get older, the walls of your intestines often get weaker. Weak spots can bulge out, and a condition called diverticulosis develops.

Diverticular disease is a common colon condition that affects one in two Americans over age 60. It can lead to complications like infection, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel movements. Fortunately, it can be treated.

Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and our team at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, located in Peoria, Arizona, specialize in intestine surgery and colon surgery to treat diverticular disease. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, it’s time to learn more about your treatment options.

Diverticulosis vs. diverticulitis

Diverticular disease includes both diverticulosis and diverticulitis. While the conditions sound similar, diverticulosis is the precursor to diverticulitis, and it’s usually not as severe.

Diverticulosis develops when weak spots in your colon bulge out. These bulges are small pouches along the lining of your colon, called diverticula.

If you have diverticula in your intestines, you have diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is very common after age 40, and it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. In fact, you might have diverticulosis without knowing it.

Diverticulitis, on the other hand, usually causes noticeable symptoms. Diverticulitis develops when the diverticula in your intestines get inflamed or infected.

Symptoms of diverticulitis can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diverticulitis pain is usually constant, and it can last for several days. Most people experience diverticulitis pain on the lower left side of their abdomens, but some say the right side is more painful.

Treatment options for diverticular disease

Diverticulosis without symptoms generally doesn’t require treatment. But it’s essential to learn the signs of diverticulitis, so you can get the care you need.

If you’re diagnosed with mild diverticulitis, our team may first recommend conservative treatments. Resting at home and following a liquid diet for a few days can give your colon a chance to heal. We may also prescribe antibiotics to treat any infection.

If you have significant diverticulitis, complications (like an abscess), or recurring infections, colon surgery may be a good option for you. Our team specializes in minimally invasive bowel resection, which is a procedure that removes diseased parts of your colon and reconnects the healthy parts.

Surgery helps eliminate infection and lower your risk of recurrent diverticulitis. Our minimally invasive techniques offer a lower risk of complications and faster recovery times.

Get personalized help for your diverticular disease at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery in Peoria, Arizona. Schedule your first appointment by calling 623-227-2581 or sending us a message today.

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