Diverticulosis is a common digestive condition that affects 30% of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 and 70% of adults age 80 and older. In most people, diverticulosis causes no symptoms and requires no treatment. At Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., the team of expert gastroenterologists including Lance Lasner, MD, and Nisha Chand, MD, diagnose and manage diverticulosis to prevent symptoms that require treatment. To learn more about diverticulosis, call the office in Centreville, Sterling, or Chantilly, Virginia, or book an appointment online today.
Diverticulosis is a condition that affects the colon, causing tiny bulges or pockets in the lining (diverticula) of the bowel. These pouches most often appear in the sigmoid colon, which is the lower section of your large intestine.
Diverticulosis is common, and your risk of developing the condition increases as you get older. Researchers are still investigating what causes someone to develop the tiny pouches in the colon, but theorize it may develop because of a lack of fiber in the diet.
Not getting enough fiber in the diet causes a buildup of waste in the colon, placing strain on the intestinal wall, leading to the tiny pouches and bulges.
In most cases, diverticulosis causes no symptoms or problems. However, some people experience abdominal tenderness, bloating, or constipation.
The team at Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., may diagnose you with diverticulosis during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Because diverticulosis causes no symptoms, most people find out they have the digestive condition after undergoing one of these endoscopic procedures for something else, such as a colon cancer screening.
There’s no specific treatment for diverticulosis. However, the team at Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., recommends you eat a high-fiber diet to prevent complications from diverticulosis — namely diverticulitis, which occurs in fewer than 5% of people with diverticulosis.
Diverticulitis is inflammation and infection of the diverticula. It’s theorized that diverticulitis occurs because bacteria in your stool get stuck in the pouches, causing an infection.
Adding more fiber to your diet softens stools and improves bowel movements to reduce the risk of constipation and waste backing up in your colon.
The team also recommends you increase your fluid intake when adding more fiber to your diet. Increasing fluids help move waste through your large intestine.
In most cases, diverticulosis causes no problems. However, you should schedule a consultation at Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., if you suspect you have diverticulitis.
Common symptoms of diverticulitis include:
The team can provide treatment to clear up your infection and symptoms. Treatment may include antibiotics and a low-fiber diet. If you have a severe infection, the team may recommend intravenous (IV) antibiotics or surgery.
For help managing your diverticulosis, call Northern Virginia Gastroenterology, P.C., or book an appointment online today.