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Category: Gastroenterology

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Diverticulitis overview

Published: January 13, 2016. Updated: January 13, 2016

Diverticulosis is a common digestive disease which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) within the bowel wall. These pouches are thought to be due to faulty intestinal contractions but cause is not known. Diverticulitis results when one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.

Diverticulosis usually involves the large intestine or colon, and in rare cases, the small intestine.

Clinical picture

Diverticulitis presents with left lower quadrant pain. This is accompanied with fever, tenderness and increased white blood counts. Depending on its location it may be associated with nausea, diarrhea or constipation. Some patients present with bleeding from the rectum.

The diagnosis is confirmed by CT scan with contrast, which shows diverticula (pouches) as well as wall thickening. Barium studies and endoscopy are contraindicated due to risk of perforation.

Treatment

Diverticulitis is treated with antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, metronidazole as well as broad spectrum antibiotics depending on severity.


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