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Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

 

Introduction

 

Celiac disease, a prevalent autoimmune disorder, affects millions of individuals worldwide, yet it remains widely misunderstood.

This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on celiac disease by exploring its intricacies—from its underlying causes and diagnostic methods to its management strategies and impact on daily life.

By unraveling the mysteries of celiac disease, we empower individuals to navigate this condition with knowledge, resilience, and confidence.

 

Understanding Celiac Disease

 

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition characterized by an abnormal immune response to gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives.

When individuals with celiac disease consume gluten-containing foods, their immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the small intestine, leading to inflammation and damage to the intestinal villi—small finger-like projections responsible for nutrient absorption.

This immune-mediated response can cause a wide range of gastrointestinal and systemic symptoms and may result in long-term complications if left untreated.

ceeliac disease causes - Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

Causes of Celiac Disease

 

The precise cause of celiac disease is multifactorial, involving a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Key contributors to the development of celiac disease include:

  1. Genetic predisposition: Celiac disease has a strong genetic component, with specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes—particularly HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8—playing a significant role in susceptibility. Individuals with certain genetic markers are more likely to develop celiac disease when exposed to gluten.

     

  2. Environmental triggers: While genetic predisposition sets the stage for celiac disease, environmental factors such as gluten consumption and early childhood infections may act as triggers. Gluten exposure, particularly during infancy and early childhood, is considered a primary environmental trigger for celiac disease development.

     

  3. Immunological dysregulation: In individuals with celiac disease, gluten consumption triggers an aberrant immune response, leading to the production of autoantibodies and inflammation within the small intestine. This immune-mediated process damages the intestinal lining and impairs nutrient absorption, contributing to the characteristic symptoms of celiac disease.

celiac disease symptoms - Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can manifest with a wide range of symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal tract, as well as other organ systems. Common symptoms of celiac disease may include:

– Gastrointestinal symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and flatulence are common gastrointestinal manifestations of celiac disease. These symptoms result from inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining, leading to impaired digestion and nutrient absorption.

– Systemic symptoms: Celiac disease can also cause systemic symptoms affecting other parts of the body. These may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, dermatitis herpetiformis (a chronic skin rash), and neurological symptoms such as headaches, peripheral neuropathy, or depression.

– Asymptomatic presentation: Some individuals with celiac disease may experience minimal or no symptoms, a condition known as “silent celiac disease.” Despite the absence of overt symptoms, these individuals may still experience intestinal damage and long-term complications if left untreated.

 

Diagnosis of Celiac Disease

 

Diagnosing celiac disease involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, serological tests, and confirmatory procedures. Healthcare providers may consider the following steps in the diagnostic process:

 

  1. Medical history and physical examination: Healthcare providers may inquire about symptoms, dietary habits, family history, and previous medical conditions to assess the likelihood of celiac disease. Physical examination may reveal signs of malnutrition, such as weight loss, stunted growth (in children), or dermatological manifestations.

     

  2. Serological tests: Blood tests for celiac-specific antibodies, including anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG-IgA), anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA-IgA), and anti-deamidated gliadin peptide antibodies (DGP-IgA and DGP-IgG), are commonly used as initial screening tests for celiac disease. Elevated levels of these antibodies indicate an immune response to gluten and may prompt further evaluation.

     

  3. Upper endoscopy with biopsy: If serological tests suggest celiac disease, confirmation may be obtained through an upper endoscopy with biopsy. During this procedure, a gastroenterologist examines the lining of the small intestine using a flexible, lighted tube (endoscope) and collects tissue samples (biopsies) for histological examination. Characteristic findings of celiac disease on biopsy include villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and lymphocytic infiltration of the intestinal mucosa.

Schneider 3 - Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

Management of Celiac Disease

 

The management of celiac disease centers on adopting a strict gluten-free diet, addressing nutritional deficiencies, managing symptoms, and preventing long-term complications.

Key components of celiac disease management include:

 

  1. Gluten-free diet: The cornerstone of celiac disease management is eliminating gluten from the diet. Individuals with celiac disease must avoid all foods and products containing wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives. This includes bread, pasta, cereal, baked goods, sauces, condiments, and processed foods. Reading food labels, scrutinizing ingredient lists, and being vigilant about cross-contamination are essential for preventing gluten exposure.

     

  2. Nutritional supplementation: Addressing nutritional deficiencies, such as iron, vitamin B12, folate, calcium, and vitamin D, is crucial for individuals with celiac disease. Healthcare providers may recommend oral supplements or intravenous therapy to replenish depleted nutrient stores and promote optimal health.

     

  3. Symptom management: Medications may be prescribed to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for acid reflux, anti-diarrheal agents for diarrhea, or corticosteroids for severe inflammation. Dermatitis herpetiformis may be treated with medications such as dapsone to control skin rash and itching.

     

  4. Ongoing monitoring: Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including gastroenterologists, dietitians, and other specialists, are essential for monitoring disease activity, assessing nutritional status, and addressing any complications or concerns. Periodic blood tests and repeat biopsies may be recommended to evaluate treatment response and disease progression. 

 

Living with Celiac Disease

 

Managing celiac disease requires ongoing commitment, education, and support.

Individuals with celiac disease must learn to navigate various aspects of daily life, including social situations, dining out, travel, and food preparation, to avoid gluten exposure and maintain their health and well-being.

Joining support groups, connecting with others living with celiac disease, and accessing reputable online resources can provide valuable guidance, encouragement, and practical tips for living a fulfilling gluten-free lifestyle.

 

Conclusion

 

Celiac disease is a complex autoimmune condition with significant implications for affected individuals’ health and quality of life.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and management strategies for celiac disease, individuals can take proactive steps to manage their condition effectively, optimize their nutritional health, and minimize the impact of celiac-related complications.

With proper education, support, and adherence to a strict gluten-free diet, individuals with celiac disease can lead fulfilling lives and enjoy improved overall well-being.

celiac disease infographic - Unveiling Celiac Disease: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

 

Contact Dr. Schneider

Dr. Schneider, a distinguished gastroenterologist with a wealth of experience in digestive health, is well-equipped to provide personalized guidance tailored to individual needs.

With a commitment to patient education and well-being, Dr. Schneider ensures that individuals are informed about the procedure, addressing any concerns and emphasizing the significance of regular screenings for early detection.

Talk to us today to book your appointment.

For further reading on the procedures we perform, please visit our website or contact Dr. Schneider on 011-482-3010. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment


Introduction

 

Colorectal cancer is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening disease that affects the colon (large intestine) or rectum.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the fundamentals of colorectal cancer, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

By understanding the nature of colorectal cancer, individuals can better recognize its signs, seek timely medical attention, and make informed decisions about their healthcare.

 

What is Colorectal Cancer?

 

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer or colon cancer, originates from abnormal growths or tumors in the lining of the colon or rectum.

These tumors can develop from precancerous polyps, which are growths that form on the inner surface of the colon or rectum.

Over time, some polyps may progress to become cancerous, leading to the development of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, with significant morbidity and mortality rates.

 

Causes of Colorectal Cancer:

 

The exact cause of colorectal cancer is not fully understood, but several risk factors have been identified:

  • Age: Colorectal cancer is more common in older adults, with the majority of cases diagnosed after the age of 50.
  • Family history: Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are at higher risk of developing the disease. 
  • Personal history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Individuals who have previously had colorectal polyps or conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are at increased risk. 
  • Lifestyle factors: Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a diet high in red and processed meats, obesity, and lack of physical activity, can contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. 
  • Genetic factors: Certain genetic mutations or hereditary syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), can predispose individuals to colorectal cancer.

colon cancer - Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

 

Colorectal cancer may initially present with few or no symptoms, which is why screening for the disease is essential.

However, as the cancer progresses, individuals may experience the following symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Abdominal discomfort, cramping, or pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Persistent urge to have a bowel movement, even after emptying the bowel
  • Anemia or low red blood cell count, which may cause fatigue, weakness, or shortness of breath

 

Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

 

Early detection of colorectal cancer is crucial for improving treatment outcomes and survival rates. Diagnostic tests and procedures used to detect colorectal cancer may include:

  • Colonoscopy: A procedure in which a flexible, lighted tube with a camera is inserted into the rectum and colon to examine the inner lining for abnormalities, such as polyps or cancerous growths. 
  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT): These tests detect hidden blood in the stool, which can be a sign of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. 
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: Similar to colonoscopy but examines only the lower part of the colon and rectum. 
  • Imaging tests: Computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans may be performed to evaluate the extent of cancer spread (staging) and identify any metastases.

colon cancer treatment - Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer:

 

The treatment of colorectal cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of the cancer, its location, and the individual’s overall health. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery: Surgical removal of the cancerous tumor and surrounding tissue is often the primary treatment for early-stage colorectal cancer. 
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth and is commonly used in combination with surgery for advanced colorectal cancer or to shrink tumors before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). 
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells and may be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. 
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy drugs specifically target certain molecules or pathways involved in cancer growth and may be used in combination with other treatments for advanced colorectal cancer. 
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy drugs stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells and may be used to treat advanced colorectal cancer that has not responded to other treatments.

colorectal cancer diagnosis - Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Prevention and Screening for Colorectal Cancer

 

Preventing colorectal cancer involves adopting healthy lifestyle habits and participating in routine screening. Lifestyle factors that can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer include:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • Limiting consumption of red and processed meats
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption

Routine screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for individuals at average risk starting at age 45, with various screening options available, including colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, and virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography).

Screening allows for the detection of precancerous polyps or early-stage cancer when treatment is most effective.


Lifestyle Changes

 

Lifestyle changes can play a significant role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and improving overall colorectal health.

Here are some lifestyle modifications that individuals can incorporate into their daily routines to lower their risk of developing colorectal cancer:

 

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
    Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
  2. Follow a Balanced Diet
    Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  3. Increase Physical Activity
    Engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Incorporate a variety of exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or strength training.
  4. Limit Alcohol Consumption
    Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  5. Quit Smoking
    Smoking is a significant risk factor for colorectal cancer and other types of cancer, as well as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
  6. Stay Hydrated:
    Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Adequate hydration supports digestion, helps maintain regular bowel movements, and may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

 

  1. Get Regular Screenings:

Follow recommended screening guidelines for colorectal cancer, starting at age 45 for individuals at average risk.

Discuss screening options with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening test for you, which may include colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, or virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography).

  1. Manage Stress:

By making these lifestyle changes and adopting healthy habits, individuals can reduce their risk of colorectal cancer and improve their overall colorectal health.

It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized recommendations based on individual risk factors and medical history.

colorectal cancer lifeestyle - Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

 

Conclusion

 

Colorectal cancer is a significant public health concern, but with early detection, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures, the prognosis for individuals diagnosed with the disease can be significantly improved.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for colorectal cancer empowers individuals to take proactive steps to protect their colorectal health and reduce their risk of developing this potentially life-threatening condition.

Through awareness, education, and timely intervention, we can continue to make strides in the prevention, detection, and treatment of colorectal cancer, ultimately saving lives and improving outcomes for individuals affected by the disease.

 

Contact Dr. Schneider

Contacting Dr. Schneider is a prudent step towards gaining comprehensive insights into colonoscopy and other screening methods.

Dr. Schneider, a distinguished gastroenterologist with a wealth of experience in digestive health, is well-equipped to provide personalized guidance tailored to individual needs.

With a commitment to patient education and well-being, Dr. Schneider ensures that individuals are informed about the procedure, addressing any concerns and emphasizing the significance of regular screenings for early detection.

Talk to us today to book your appointment.

For further reading on the procedures we perform, please visit our website or contact Dr. Schneider on 011-482-3010.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Introduction

Cancer, a word that strikes fear and uncertainty in hearts, has long been one of humanity’s most formidable adversaries.

Among the array of cancers that pose a threat, colorectal cancer stands as a significant challenge, affecting millions of lives globally.

However, the tide of this battle can be turned through a powerful weapon: early detection.

Colorectal cancer screening, a key component of preventive healthcare, plays a pivotal role in identifying potential threats before they can gain a stronghold.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve deep into the vital importance of colorectal cancer screening, exploring its significance, methods, and the impact it can have on lives across the globe.

 

The Need for Early Detection

Colorectal cancer, an ailment that targets the colon or rectum, holds a prominent place among the most prevalent cancers.

The real challenge, however, lies in its tendency to develop silently, often showing symptoms only in the advanced stages.

The key to combating this silent adversary lies in early detection, which dramatically increases the chances of effective treatment and survival.

Colorectal cancer screening serves as the primary weapon in this fight, offering a chance to catch the disease before it advances to its most dangerous stage.

 

colorectal cancer diagnosis - Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Unraveling the Methods of Screening

Colorectal cancer screening methods are ingeniously designed to spot warning signs even before symptoms manifest.

The most renowned of these methods is the colonoscopy, a procedure that involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera into the colon and rectum.

This enables physicians to visually inspect the area for any abnormalities, even removing polyps during the same procedure.

Sigmoidoscopy and virtual colonoscopy are also valuable tools in the arsenal of screening methods.

For those who seek non-invasive options, stool-based tests like the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) offer an alternative.

 

Preparation Process for Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a vital tool in detecting colorectal cancer and other abnormalities in the colon and rectum.

While the procedure itself is relatively straightforward, proper preparation is essential to ensure its effectiveness and accuracy.

Here’s what you need to know about the preparation process for a colonoscopy:

 

Consultation with Your Healthcare Provider:
Before scheduling a colonoscopy, consult your healthcare provider to discuss your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and any health conditions you have.

This information helps them tailor the procedure and the preparation process to your specific needs.

 

Dietary Restrictions:
Typically, a few days before your colonoscopy, you’ll be required to follow a specific diet that promotes clear visualization of the colon during the procedure.

This often involves avoiding foods high in fiber, as well as nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables.

 

Clear Liquid Diet:
In the 24 to 48 hours leading up to your colonoscopy, your doctor will likely recommend consuming only clear liquids. This includes water, clear broth, plain tea, clear juices (without pulp), and gelatin.

These liquids ensure that your colon is as clear as possible for the procedure.

 

Bowel Preparation Medication:
To achieve a clean colon for proper visualization, your doctor will prescribe a bowel preparation medication.

This is usually in the form of a liquid solution that you need to drink. It’s important to follow the instructions precisely, as this medication induces bowel movements to clear out the colon. Be prepared for increased trips to the restroom during this time.

 

Hydration:
Staying hydrated during the bowel preparation process is crucial.

Alongside the clear liquids you’re allowed to consume, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

 

Medication Adjustments:
If you’re taking medications for certain medical conditions, your doctor may advise you to adjust their dosage or temporarily stop taking them in the days leading up to the colonoscopy.

This is to minimize potential complications during the procedure.

 

Follow Instructions Carefully:
Adhering to the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider is crucial. Skipping any steps or not following the dietary restrictions and medication guidelines can impact the quality of the colonoscopy and may require rescheduling.

 

Arrangements for the Procedure Day:
On the day of the colonoscopy, you’ll need someone to accompany you to the appointment, as you won’t be able to drive after the procedure due to the sedative used.

Make arrangements for transportation and ensure you have any required paperwork, identification, and insurance information.

Proper preparation ensures that the colonoscopy is successful in identifying any abnormalities or potential issues.

If you have any questions or concerns about the preparation process, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Schneider.

Remember, your proactive approach to the preparation process is an important step in safeguarding your health and well-being.

colorectal cancer colonoscopy - Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening


Breaking Down the Barriers: Dispelling Myths

Misconceptions and fears frequently discourage individuals from pursuing colorectal cancer screenings. Apprehensions about pain, discomfort, or embarrassment linked to the procedures can deter proactive healthcare.

Educating the public, fostering open dialogue with healthcare providers, and familiarizing individuals with modern advancements in medical techniques can dismantle these barriers, empowering individuals to prioritize their health.

 

Investment in Health and Longevity

 

Colorectal cancer screening is not merely a medical procedure; it’s an investment in one’s health and future.

By identifying potential issues before symptoms arise, screenings provide the best chance for effective treatment and positive outcomes.

Early detection through screenings transforms a potentially dire diagnosis into a manageable condition, potentially saving lives.

colorectal cancer testing - Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening


Promoting Preventive Health and Early Detection


Promoting awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening is a critical step in the fight against this disease.

Education campaigns, community outreach, and healthcare provider engagement can contribute to increased screening rates.

Recognizing that early detection not only saves lives but also reduces the need for extensive treatments and surgeries can empower individuals to take charge of their health.

 

Screening Methods: Choosing the Right One

 

Several effective screening methods are available, each catering to different needs and preferences.

The gold standard is the colonoscopy, a procedure that allows physicians to directly visualize the entire colon, detect abnormalities, and even remove polyps during the same procedure.

Other methods, such as sigmoidoscopy and virtual colonoscopy, are also valuable options.

For those who prefer non-invasive methods, stool-based tests like the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) can identify the presence of blood in stool, which might indicate the presence of polyps or cancer.

These tests are convenient and can be done at home. While they have a high accuracy rate, they may require additional follow-up tests if abnormalities are detected.

 

 

colorectal polyp removal - Early Detection, Bright Futures: Understanding the Crucial Role of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Overcoming Fear and Discomfort

 

Fear, anxiety, and misconceptions often deter individuals from undergoing colorectal cancer screenings. Concerns about pain, discomfort, or embarrassment associated with the procedures can lead to avoidance.

Addressing these fears through education, open communication with healthcare providers, and understanding the advancements in modern medical techniques can help individuals overcome these barriers and prioritize their health.

 

Conclusion

 

Colorectal cancer screening is not just a medical procedure; it is a life-saving investment in one’s health and well-being.

By identifying potential problems before symptoms emerge, screenings offer the best chance for effective treatment and positive outcomes.

Early detection through screening can transform a potentially dire diagnosis into a manageable condition. It’s imperative to remember that colorectal cancer is a battle that can be won, especially when caught early.

So, let’s shatter the silence, embrace the importance of screenings, and make informed decisions that protect our health, our loved ones, and our futures.

After all, when it comes to colorectal cancer, the path to triumph begins with a simple step – getting screened.

Dr. Schneider is located at the Millpark Hospital, Parktown, Johannesburg.

 

Services offered include consultation, and endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

 

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.
 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

At GIDOCJHB, we know that patients want to know as much as they can about the GI system and disorders that affect their daily lives.

You don’t have to suffer through digestive problems alone.

Dr. Schneider provides personalised support and patient care using the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available.

With striving to provide the highest quality of care for all patients, we are actively involved in clinical research for people diagnosed with Diverticulitis.

Our goal at GIDOCJHB is to provide specialised individual treatment, improved quality of life, and provide superior care for people suffering from Diverticulitis.

 

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis can be a painful condition in which small pouches that are inflamed or infected bulge out from the colon (the lower part of the large intestine).

The pouches are often described as looking like small thumbs poking out of the side of the intestine.

 things to know diverticulitis - Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

 

Difference Between Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Diverticulosis refers to the presence of these tiny bulges or pockets (diverticula) in your colon.

Usually, they don’t cause any symptoms or need to be treated. However, diverticulosis can lead to diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis begins with diverticulosis and is initiated by the thinning of the wall of the diverticulum, or pouch, followed by a perforation that is then walled off by an inflammatory response.

Due to this happening, this inflammation results in moderate to severe pain, fever, and general discomfort.

For more information, click here

 

Causes and Risk Factors of Diverticulitis

It is not fully understood why diverticulitis occurs or what may be the trigger.

It is believed among many gastroenterologists that a low fiber diet may be the cause, among genetic and environmental factors, but this has not yet been proven.

Risk factors include:

  • Are over 40 years of age
  • Are male
  • Are overweight
  • Eat a low-fiber diet.
  • Eat a diet high in fat and red meat
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Smoke

 

Signs and Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis can cause symptoms ranging from only mild pain for most people, to severe pain if not managed correctly.

These symptoms can appear momentarily or they can develop gradually over a period of days.

Potential symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain usually felt on the left side (most common symptom)
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in your stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Vomiting

If you develop any serious symptoms, such as vomiting or blood in your stool, it may be a sign of a more serious problem and it’s recommended to call your doctor immediately.

Diverticulitis treatment south africa - Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis Diagnosis

To diagnose diverticulitis, your gastroenterologist will likely ask you about your symptoms, health history, and any medications that you take.

They’ll likely also perform a physical exam to check your abdomen for tenderness. Your GI may also perform some of the following tests:

  • X-rays – to assess for complications from diverticulitis.
  • Digital rectal exam – To identify if you have any problems in the anus or rectal area.
  • Colonoscopy – to examine the inside of your GI tract
  • A stool sample – This will check for infections
  • CT scan – A CT scan is one of the best ways to diagnose diverticulitis. It can also help identify the severity of diverticulitis and guide treatment better.
  • Urine test – to check for infections
  • Blood tests – to check for signs of inflammation, anemia, or kidney or liver problems
  • Pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy in women

 

Diverticulitis Treatment

Immediate treatment for diverticulitis is crucial as infection can cause harmful complications.

The treatment for diverticulitis depends on your current condition and may include:

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Small to mild diverticulitis symptoms can often be treated by an individual with or without medication (recommended by your gastroenterologist).

People with diverticulosis who do not have symptoms do not require treatment. However, most gastroenterologists recommend increasing fiber in the diet, which can help to bulk the stools and possibly prevent the development of new diverticula, diverticulitis, or diverticular bleeding.

Fiber is not proven to prevent these conditions in all patients but may help to control recurrent episodes in some.

Medical Treatments

Medicine like antibiotics is usually prescribed to treat or prevent infections, prevent side effects, or soften the stool. Antibiotics can usually be taken as pills at home.

If you have severe pain or an infection, though, you may need to be treated in a hospital so antibiotics can be given intravenously (into a vein).

Moderate-to-severe diverticulitis may require bed rest and a liquid diet to help the large intestine recover.

Surgery Treatments

The selection of the most appropriate surgical option is best made in consultation with your gastroenterologist.

If you have an abscess, for example, drainage or surgery may be needed to clean out the infection.

Colon resection may also be done, which is surgery to remove the section of the colon that contains the diverticulitis and where the healthy ends of the intestine are sewn back together

The choice depends on the extent of the problem and your overall health.

 

 dos and donts diverticulitis - Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Diverticulitis:

  • DO take medicines as prescribed by your gastroenterologist
  • DO eat a diet that is high in fiber, low in salt, and low in fat to avoid constipation. This will reduce your chances of getting diverticulitis
  • DO drink plenty of water
  • DO exercise regularly
  • DO maintain your correct weight. and try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • DO maintain good bowel habits by trying to have a bowel movement daily
  • DO call your gastroenterologist or hospital if you have blood in your stool or if your stools are dark
  • DO call your gastroenterologist or hospital if abdominal pain becomes to difficult to manage
  • DO call your gastroenterologist or hospital if you get any severe symptoms
  • DON’T strain with bowel movements
  • DON’T use laxatives

Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - Things You Need To Know About Diverticulitis

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.