Diverticular disease or diverticulosis is a medical condition that causes tiny, pouch-like pockets to form in the lining of your digestive tract. These diverticula pockets 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.
Infection and inflammation can lead to diverticulitis, a condition that can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and fever and be a severe and potentially life-threatening condition. If diverticulitis is suspected, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by the best diverticulosis doctor in NYC for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Diverticulosis, however, is benign and relatively 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
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Symptoms of Diverticulosis
Most people who have diverticulosis are unaware of it. It often causes no symptoms and does not affect the digestion process.
Causes of Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is rare when diets are generally high in fiber, grain, fruits, and vegetables, which has led scientists and GI doctors 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.
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 our doctors recommend regular colon cancer screening once you reach 45 years of age or early, depending on risk factors. A regular colonoscopy also can detect diverticula.
Diverticulosis specialists 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 in 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, the first treatment plan often is to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. An alternative treatment is a supplemental fiber product that comes in pill, powder, or wafer form.
Diverticulitis is a severe condition that causes localized abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea, fever, vomiting, chills, or constipation. While our best diverticulosis doctors in Upper East Side 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. Following an episode of diverticulitis, a colonoscopy is recommended for evaluation to exclude any underlying mass lesions. Visiting your gastroenterologist will allow them to offer you an individualized treatment plan.
Important Reminder: The only intent of this information is to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a GI doctor or gastroenterology specialist about your specific condition. Only trained, experienced diverticulosis specialists like our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
As best-in-class NYC gastroenterologists, our doctors provide highly personalized and comprehensive care. For more information about Diverticular Disease or to schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, please contact our Union Square/Chelsea, Upper East Side, or Midtown NYC offices.Manhattan Gastroenterology Locations: Manhattan Gastroenterology (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave Ste 1D, NY 10028
(212) 427-8761 Manhattan Gastroenterology (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street Ste 407, NY 10010
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