Diverticulitis Specialist

Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C.

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Centreville, VA & Sterling, VA

Diverticulitis is a complication of diverticulosis, a condition that affects nearly one-third of Americans aged 50-59, rising to more than 70% of those over 80. At Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., with offices in Centreville, Sterling, and Chantilly, Virginia, the skilled team of empathetic gastroenterology specialists, including Lance Lasner, MD, and Nisha Chand, MD, provides the effective treatment you need to prevent, control, and manage diverticular disease. If you’re having lower abdominal pain, fever, abdominal tenderness, or other possible symptoms of diverticulitis, call the office nearest you or book your appointment online for help today.

Diverticulitis Q&A

What is diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a complication of diverticulosis, a disease that occurs when tiny pouches develop within weak parts of your colon wall. Diverticulosis usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, and in fact many people only find out that they have it when they have imaging tests or an endoscopy to investigate or screen for another condition. 

In about 5% of cases of diverticulosis, one or more of the affected diverticula grow seriously inflamed, a condition called diverticulitis. Unlike diverticulosis, diverticulitis can cause quite serious symptoms. 

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis can cause severe pain, usually centered in your lower left abdomen. In addition, you may experience extreme abdominal tenderness and a fever when you have diverticulitis. 

Diverticulitis can lead to serious complications like:

  • Diverticular bleeding: Bleeding from the rectum 
  • Abscess: Pocket of infected pus outside the colon wall
  • Stricture: Scar tissue buildup that narrows the colon
  • Fistula: An abnormal tunnel between the bowel and another organ
  • Perforation: A hole through the colon, leaking stool into the abdomen

Each of these complications can cause additional gastrointestinal symptoms. For example, strictures can cause constipation, while fistulas and abscesses can cause anal leakage. A bowel perforation is a very serious complication that can cause sudden severe pain, infection, and even death if untreated.

How is diverticulitis treated?

Diverticulitis treatment usually requires antibiotics if you have an infection. Most people need a few days of a liquid diet, which allows your bowel time to recover from the inflammation. If you have a more serious case of diverticulitis, particularly with complications, the Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C. team may prescribe intravenous (IV) antibiotics or abscess drainage. 

If you experience diverticulitis complications, including bowel obstruction, major abscess, fistula, or perforation, you’re likely to need surgery. The team may also recommend surgery for people who may recurrent diverticulitis episodes over time or for people with a weak immune system. 

Diverticulitis is a very treatable condition, and it’s also largely preventable. If you’re diagnosed with diverticulosis, the team can help you take steps to avoid developing diverticulitis, such as increasing dietary fiber. 

To learn more about diverticulitis prevention and treatment, call the Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C. office nearest to you or click on the provided appointment scheduling link now.