Your intestines are a continuous tube connecting your stomach to your anus. The small intestine is about 20 feet long and the large intestine is 5 feet long.

Intestines are an important part of your digestive system because most of the nutrients from the foods and beverages you consume are absorbed through their walls. But certain health conditions can impact your intestinal function and digestion.

Diverticulitis is a fairly common condition in which pouches inside your intestines get inflamed or infected. It can cause severe abdominal pain, bleeding, and changes in bowel movements.

At the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Brian Prebil, DO, Eric Thomas, MD, FACS, and our team specialize in treating intestinal issues with minimally invasive intestine surgery.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis or a colonoscopy revealed abnormalities, it’s time to learn more about your treatment options for diverticulitis — and when it’s time to consider surgery.

Symptoms of diverticulitis

Diverticula are small sacs that develop in the lining of your intestines. They can appear anywhere, but they’re most commonly found in the lower portion of the large intestine.

Diverticula are very common, especially in people over 40 years old. If you have diverticula in your digestive system, it’s called diverticulosis.

Most of the time, diverticulosis doesn’t cause any symptoms and you might not even know you have it. It’s when the diverticula get inflamed or infected that symptoms can develop.

Symptoms of diverticulitis often include:

  • Persistent lower abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Constipation

Diverticulitis pain is generally constant for several days. It most commonly affects the lower left side of your abdomen, but some people feel the pain in their lower right side.

Treatments for diverticulitis

Diverticulitis ranges in severity, meaning treatments vary. Mild to moderate diverticulitis often respond well to conservative treatments like rest or medication.

Antibiotics treat infection, but they may not be needed if you have a very mild case of diverticulitis. You may be placed on a liquid diet for a few days to give your bowel a rest and allow it to heal.

Whether or not you’re diagnosed with diverticulitis, there are several ways you can keep your bowel healthy and lower your risk of complications. Regular exercise and staying hydrated promote healthy bowel function. Eating a diet high in fiber decreases your risk of diverticulitis, as does not smoking.

Minimally invasive diverticulitis surgery

About 25% of people with diverticulitis develop complications. Abscesses, peritonitis, and blockages caused by scarring are common complications that require surgery to correct.

We may recommend surgery for diverticulitis if you have a particularly severe case or you develop complications. Our minimally invasive surgical techniques can remove blockages, repair ruptured intestines, and treat other problems related to diverticulitis.

Our surgeons use laparoscopic techniques and can perform robotic-assisted surgery with da Vinci® surgical instruments. The benefits of using these surgical methods include smaller incisions, enhanced precision, and minimized trauma to surrounding tissue.

Surgery for diverticulitis can treat the pain and repair damage caused by complications. Many patients recover from minimally invasive intestine surgery in the comfort of their own home, and we work with you to implement lifestyle changes to prevent diverticulitis from recurring.

Surgery can be a safe and effective treatment for severe, painful diverticulitis. Learn more about your options with a consultation at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery in Peoria, Arizona. Call us at 623-227-2581 or send us a message today.

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