Diverticulosis Disease Specialist Gastroenterologists NYC: Manhattan Gastroenterology

Diverticular disease, or diverticulosis, is a medical condition that causes tiny, pouch-like pockets to form in the lining of your digestive tract that can be diagnosed and treated by gastroenterologists. These pockets, called diverticula, can occur anywhere, from your esophagus to your anus, but commonly appear in your large intestine. By themselves, they usually cause no medical problems, but sometimes they get infected or inflamed. This can lead to diverticulitis, a condition that can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea and fever. Diverticulitis also can cause serious medical conditions, including peritonitis, which is inflammation of your abdominal cavity lining. If diverticulitis is suspected, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptoms of a serious illness or condition.

Diverticulosis, however, is benign and fairly common, affecting half of all people older than 60 in the United States. Other risk factors include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • A low-fiber diet
  • Obesity

Symptoms of Diverticulosis

Most people who have diverticulosis are unaware of it. It often causes no symptoms and does not affect the digestion process. Some people with diverticulosis may experience bloating, abdominal cramps, sudden pain, fever, diarrhea or constipation: the same symptoms as irritable bowel syndrome.

Causes of Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is rare when diets are generally high in fiber, grain, fruits and vegetables, which has led scientists and physicians to conclude that a low-fiber diet causes or at least contributes to the condition. A low-fiber diet requires more pressure inside your digestive tract to push food along; years of this added strain leads to diverticulosis.

Diagnosing Diverticulosis

Most people with diverticulosis have no symptoms, so the disease is usually discovered by accident. Testing for another condition with a barium enema or performing a screening exam — such as a colonoscopy, for example — can uncover the existence of diverticula.

Gastroenterologists like Dr. Khodadadian recommend regular colon cancer screening once you reach 50 years of age or earlying depending on risk factors. A regular colonoscopy also can detect diverticula.

Treating Diverticulosis

Specialists like Dr. Khodadadian agree that the best way to treat diverticular disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The way to do that is to avoid constipation by eating a diet high is fiber and rich in fruits and vegetables. Such a diet makes it easier for your digestive system to do its job, thereby preventing constipation and leading to a healthy colon.

Once diverticula form, however, they do not simply disappear by themselves. Most likely, if you have diverticulosis, you won’t have symptoms or need treatment. If you do have symptoms — abdominal pain, bloating or constipation — the first treatment plan often is to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. An alternative is a supplemental fiber product that comes in pill, powder or wafer form. Dr. Khodadadian also may prescribe a muscle relaxant to ease spasms in your colon.

If left untreated, diverticulosis may lead to diverticulitis. Possible complications include inflammation, infection, bleeding or intestinal blockage. Fortunately, diverticulosis does not cause cancer.

Diverticulitis is a more serious condition that causes localized abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea, fever, vomiting, chills or constipation. While Dr. Khodadadian may treat a minor case with oral antibiotics, a more advanced case may require a hospital stay and intravenous antibiotics. If you suffer multiple cases over time, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected portion of your colon.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced physician like Dr. Khodadadian can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

As a best in class NYC gastroenterologist, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian provides highly personalized and comprehensive care. His philosophy regarding the doctor/patient relationship is based on trust and has earned him one of the most respected reputations in NYC.

For more information about Diverticular Disease or to schedule an appointment with the GI doctor, Dr. Shawn Khodadidan, please contact our Upper East Side NYC office.

Dr. Shawn Khodadadian
Manhattan Gastroenterology
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D
New York, NY 10028
(212) 427.8761