The surgical team at San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons in La Jolla, California, has extensive training and experience in addressing the complexities of diverticulitis disease. M. Jonathan Worsey, MD, FRCS, FACS, FASCRS, and Keith Beiermeister, MD, FACS, FASCRS, specialize in custom treatment plans using conservative and surgical treatments to treat the chronic inflammation of diverticulitis and preserve the health of your digestive tract. Find out more about the available treatments for diverticulitis by calling San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons or by requesting an appointment online today.

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What is diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a condition of the large intestine that usually results from consuming insufficient dietary fiber.

Abnormal pressure builds up in your colon (large intestine). It causes small hernias, or pouches (diverticula), to form in your digestive tract, usually in the lining of your colon. The pouches can become inflamed and infected.

Your risk of developing diverticulitis increases with age. Other things that contribute to diverticulitis include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking history
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet

You can also develop inflammation from the use of some medications, including opioids and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Without treatment, diverticulitis can lead to an abscess or a blockage in your bowel. You can also develop a fistula between your bowel and other organs.

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

Abdominal pain is a common symptom of diverticulitis. You usually feel persistent pain on the lower left side of your abdomen, and the area can be tender.

Common symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

If you have any of these symptoms or if your abdominal pain continues to get worse, you should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

How is diverticulitis diagnosed?

During your diagnostic evaluation for diverticulitis symptoms, Dr. Beiermeister and Dr. Worsey review your medical history and symptoms.

They check your abdominal tenderness and often perform flexible sigmoidoscopy in the office to help confirm diverticular disease. Your doctors may offer computed tomography (CT) scans to confirm the presence of inflamed or infected pouches in your colon.

Dr. Beiermeister and Dr. Worsey then customize a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and clear the infection to prevent long-term complications. The doctors have extensive training and experience in treating this disease. They offer conservative and surgical methods to treat diverticulitis.

How is diverticulitis treated?

If you have what is called uncomplicated diverticulitis, Dr. Worsey and Dr. Beiermeister work with you on dietary restrictions to prevent further inflammation of the pouches. They can prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection and relieve your symptoms. A severe infection could mean that you need to stay in the hospital to receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics.

A small percentage of people with severe diverticulitis develop serious complications. You may need surgery to treat issues like:

  • Abscesses
  • Hemorrhages
  • Obstructions
  • Intestinal tears

Surgery could be necessary if your symptoms don’t respond to medical treatment. This type of surgery focuses on removing the diseased part of your large intestine and reconnecting the healthy portions.

Dr. Worsey and Dr. Beiermeister continue to monitor your treatment progress. They work with you on dietary changes you need to make to keep your digestive tract healthy.

To get help managing diverticulitis pain, call San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons or request an appointment online today.