Causes, risks, and treatment of a diverticulitis infection

Sen. John McCain, who has been home in Arizona recovering from side effects of cancer treatment, recently underwent surgery for an intestinal infection related to diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis is an inflammation or infection in one or more of the pouches, or diverticula, found in the large intestines.

Gastroenterologist Dr. Ali Banaie joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss causes, risk factors, and treatment for diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches (diverticula) inside of the large intestine become inflamed or infected. Doctors aren’t sure what causes this condition, but research suggests that diet, genetics, and certain risk factors may play a role.

Several risk factors may increase your risk of developing diverticulitis: aging, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, certain medications, and a diet high in animal fat and low in fiber. You can reduce your risk by getting enough fiber in your diet, maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise, not smoking, and going to the doctor regularly.

Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in bowel habits.

Treatments typically focus on using antibiotics to get rid of infection and reduce inflammation to prevent more severe complications. If initial medical treatment is ineffective, surgery may be required, in which the infected part of the colon is removed.

Diverticulitis is common, especially as people age. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, in the United States, about 200,000 people are hospitalized for diverticulitis each year.


Categories: Good Morning San Diego