Diverticulitis? 3 Ways A Gastroenterologist May Be Invaluable

Health & Medical Blog

Diverticulitis is a medical condition that affects the colon. Inflammation of diverticula, or small bulging pockets along the large intestine, cause discomfort and pain in sufferers. Any disorder that relates to the digestive system like diverticulitis is treated by a gastroenterologist. Read on to learn about these three ways your gastroenterologist may be invaluable in the face of diverticulitis.

1. Help You Discover the Likelihood of Diverticulitis

Many patients feel no symptoms with diverticulitis, but they could become more noticeable later if you experience flare-ups. Your doctor can determine if you are more likely to develop diverticulitis if you have mild symptoms or fall into certain categories. For example, people are more likely to develop the condition if they smoke, are overweight, inactive, or over the age of 40. Some diets high in red meat and certain medications like NSAIDs and opiates can also contribute to the condition.

Your doctor may suspect diverticulitis if you frequently suffer from:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain lasting for several days
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Fever and chills

If a doctor suspects diverticulitis, they can perform tests to arrive at a diagnosis.

2. Perform Tests to Firmly Diagnose Diverticulitis

Because diverticulitis can mimic other more common medical conditions and infections, your doctor may first try to rule them out. For example, your doctor may use a pregnancy test if you are of child-bearing age. Blood, urine, and stool tests check for various infections. Also, a liver enzyme test rules out liver-related abdominal pain.

Gastroenterologists can utilize tests similar to those that screen for polyps to spot diverticula. A lighted, flexible tube and camera can visualize any diverticula in the colon much like a colonoscopy. Or, your doctor can see whether you have diverticulitis with other imaging methods like a barium x-ray or computed tomography (CT scan).

3. Help You Manage and Prevent Flare-Ups

The painful inflammation of diverticulitis is called a flare-up. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and prevent more serious complications. Other medications can help relax spasms in the large intestines that cause pain. Additionally, a gastroenterologist may need to perform surgery if flare-ups are very serious or recurrent.

Your doctor can help you prevent future flare-ups and recommend diets that reduce the possibility of a flare-up. Foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and beans are great sources of vital roughage. They may also prescribe fiber products that soften stools to help facilitate bowel movements.

For additional information about diverticulitis or other medical conditions, contact a gastroenterologist in your area.


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