Siamak Tabib (Gastroenterologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA) gives expert video advice on: What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?; How is diverticular disease diagnosed? and more...
What is "diverticulitis"?
Diverticulitis is a condition where pockets lining the large intestine known as diverticuli or diverticulosis become infected, irritated and inflamed.
What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
The symptoms of diverticulitis generally are abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort (usually in the area of the infection), fevers, chills, and changes in bowel habits.
What causes diverticulitis?
No one is really sure exactly what causes diverticulitis; the infection of these diverticular pockets. We that feel there may be an association between diverticulitis and the intake of seeds, nuts, and popcorn. These are materials that generally may not be chewed very well and are not broken down very easily by the intestinal track. So, when these products, such as seeds, nuts, or popcorn, enter the large intestine they can move along and be caught into one of these pockets. If they stay within a pocket and block the opening of this pocket they can cause significant irritation and inflammation that potentially can lead to infection. As such we recommend patients who have the condition of diverticulitis to avoid seeds, nuts, and popcorn as much as possible
How is diverticular disease diagnosed?
Diverticular disease is usually diagnosed either through imaging studies and special x-rays of the abdomen, or through a very common procedure, that is generally done for a different reason, called a colonoscopy.
What is a "colonoscopy"?
A colonoscopy is a procedure where a flexible camera, called a colonoscope, that has a light source at the end of it, is inserted into the rectum and the rest of the large intestine or colon, in order to visualize the lining of this area. This procedure is generally performed after a bowel cleanse and is usually performed with sedation for the patient's comfort.