Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
What is Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis?
To understand Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis, it is extremely important to know what is diverticula.
Diverticula are small bulging pouches that tend to form in the lining of the digestive tract. These diverticula are mostly formed in the lower part of the large intestine which is also called as colon. The colon is divided into four categories which are the ascending colon, the descending colon, the transverse colon, and the sigmoid colon. Generally, diverticula can form in any of these parts of colons but they are usually formed in the sigmoid colon. Diverticula as a single entity is usually harmless until they become infected and result in a pathological condition called as diverticulitis.
An infected diverticula in the sigmoid colon is referred to as Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis. Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis can result in severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and substantial change in the bowel patterns. Mild forms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis can be treated just with rest, dietary changes and antibiotics but advanced or severe forms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis need to be treated with surgery.
What are the Causes of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis?
Diverticula is usually formed when the weakest part of the colon succumbs to constant pressure from other parts of the digestive tract resulting in pouches to protrude through the colon wall. These pouches when get infected result in diverticulitis. Since sigmoid colon has quite a weak colon wall hence Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis is quite common.
What are the Symptoms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis?
Signs and symptoms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis are:
- Person suffering from sigmoid colon diverticulitis may experience symptoms of constant pain in the lower part of the abdomen which may persist for several days.
- Symptoms of nausea with vomiting
- Persistent fever
- Abdominal tenderness
- Person suffering from sigmoid colon diverticulitis may experience symptoms of changes in bowel habits with constipation alternating with diarrhea.
How is Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis Diagnosed?
If an individual presents with the above mentioned symptoms, then Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis is certainly the differential diagnosis until other conditions are ruled out. To begin with, the physician will conduct a detailed physical examination and inspect the abdominal area to look for areas of tenderness. Next, the physician will order certain laboratory tests to include blood and urine test to rule out infection, LFT to rule out any damage to the liver causing the symptoms, stool examination for people with persistent diarrhea. Apart from this radiological studies in the form of MRI and CT scan of the abdominal area will be done to virtually confirm the presence of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis.
What is the Treatment for Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis?
Treatment for Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis depends on the chronicity of the symptoms. For milder forms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis, the patient can be treated at home itself with antibiotics for treating infection, maintaining a soft liquid diet which is easy to digest and does not put pressure on the digestive system along with pain medication for pain relief.
In cases of severe forms of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis, the patient may need to be hospitalized where the patient will be given IV antibiotics and a tube inserted to drain if any abscess has been formed.
Surgery is usually recommended for patients with Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis if they have certain complications like perforation or bowel obstruction, frequent episodes of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis, the immune system of the patient is weak.
Surgery for Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis is usually of two types:
Primary Bowel Resection: In this procedure, the surgeon will remove a part of the intestine that hs been diseased and reconnects the healthy segments. This procedure restores normal bowel movements in patients with sigmoid colon diverticulitis.
Bowel Resection with Colostomy: If there is enormous amount of inflammation that it becomes very difficult to reconnect the colon to the rectum then the surgeon will perform a colostomy in which an opening will be made in the abdomen and will be connected to the healthy part of the colon. A bag will be placed into this opening and all the waste material is collected in the bag. Once the inflammation calms down then the bag is removed and the colon is again connected to the rectum in the normal way.
What are the Complications of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis?
Complications due to Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis is rare but may include:
- Intestinal blockage
In summary, in case if an individual experiences symptoms as described above and Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis is diagnosed then getting the right treatment is important to prevent oneself from recurring episodes of Sigmoid Colon Diverticulitis.