Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula – pouches that form in your intestinal lining – swell or become infected. Diverticula normally don’t pose a problem. On the contrary, if they become infected or swollen, they can cause nausea, abdominal pain, or a noticeable change in bowel movements.
When you visit our gastroenterology practice, Carlisle Digestive Associates, our doctors will provide treatment based on the severity of your case. However, before you come in for a visit, you may want to educate yourself about diverticulitis treatment. This will help you learn what to expect.
So, let’s discuss what you should know before you receive treatment.
Could Require CT Before Receiving Treatment
Before receiving treatment, you may need a computerized tomography (CT) scan – specialized imaging that uses X-rays. It can help your gastroenterologist determine if you have pouches, assess them for infection or inflammation, and evaluate the severity of the condition.
May Have More Than One Episode and Need Continuous Treatment
If you’ve had an episode of diverticulitis in the past, you could have another. For some people, diverticulitis is a lifelong condition that requires continuous management.
Might Receive Recommendation for At-Home Care
In mild cases, your gastroenterologist may send you home with at-home care recommendations only. While antibiotics were once the standard treatment, emerging research suggests antibiotics aren’t always necessary for minor cases.
You may receive a recommendation to eat more fiber, for example. This is because fiber attracts water, which bulks up your stool and makes it easier to pass. When your stool is soft, it tends to move more quickly through the intestinal tract.
Your doctor may also recommend you drink water if you don’t already adequately hydrate. A lack of proper hydration can be the source of a lot of digestive issues. Increasing your water intake can solve a lot of problems. Your gastroenterologist might also advise you to further increase your water intake if you’re going to incorporate more fiber into your diet.
Exercise helps your digestive tract pass food, so your practitioner may recommend you exercise for at least 30 minutes per day on most days to help get things moving.
May Be Given a Prescription for an Oral Antibiotic
Make sure you inform your doctor of any antibiotic allergies that you may have because they often prescribe an oral antibiotic for uncomplicated cases. For instance, you may receive a prescription for amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or an oral cephalosporin and metronidazole.
Keep in mind that amoxicillin is in the penicillin family. Additionally, if you have a penicillin allergy, you have a higher risk of being allergic to cephalosporins – another mold-derived antibiotic.
May Require Surgery in Severe Cases
You may require hospitalization in severe cases of diverticulitis. On the other hand, you could require intravenous antibiotics or need a procedure that consists of a specialist draining an abscess.
Sometimes, serious cases require surgery, such as a primary bowel resection or a bowel resection with colostomy. With a primary bowel resection, the surgeon removes the portions of your intestines affected by diverticulitis and reconnects the healthy parts.
On the other hand, bowel resection with colostomy consists of the gastroenterology surgeon removing the diseased segments of your intestines. Then, the surgeon creates an opening in your abdomen and places a bag that connects to a healthy portion of your intestines to remove waste. In some cases, this is only temporary. A surgeon may remove the colostomy bag at a later time and reconnect the healthy segments of your intestines.
Contacting Our Gastroenterologists in Carlisle, PA for Diverticulitis Treatment
At Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, every gastroenterologist at our practice is board-certified and highly qualified to address your upper and lower digestive tract problems. We offer a variety of diverticulitis treatment options and can refer patients for surgery in complicated cases. When you require testing, we have an endoscopy center to make the diagnostic process convenient for you.
Book an appointment with Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, serving Carlisle and the nearby region, if you have unusual digestive symptoms, like abdominal pain or persistent changes in bowel habits. You may reach us at (717) 245-2228 or use our online appointment request form.