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Diverticulosis Specialist

Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg

Gastroenterology located in Fredericksburg, VA & Stafford, VA

If you suffer from gas, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, or tenderness, it could be due to diverticulosis or diverticulitis. At Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg and Stafford, Virginia, the experienced gastroenterology team diagnoses and treats diverticulosis and diverticulitis to reduce unpleasant symptoms and your risk of complications. Call the office to book an appointment or schedule one online today.

Diverticulosis Q&A

What is diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is a condition that causes you to develop diverticula, which are tiny bulging pouches that form in your digestive tract, especially in your colon. These pouches are common after age 40 but usually don’t cause problems. 

Sometimes, however, the pouches get inflamed or infected. This is a more severe condition called diverticulitis and can cause unpleasant, severe symptoms when left untreated.

What are the symptoms of diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is often mild and doesn’t cause symptoms aside from the presence of diverticula in your digestive tract. 

However, if you develop diverticulitis, you may experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lower left or right-sided abdominal pain
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal tenderness 

Complications that may occur because of diverticulitis include abscesses (pus that collects in diverticula), bowel blockages, abnormal passageways near your bowel, or ruptured pouches, which is a medical emergency. 

About 1 in 4 people with diverticulitis develop complications. 

What are the risk factors for developing diverticulosis and diverticulitis?

While diverticulosis and diverticulitis can happen to anyone, factors that increase your risk of developing it include:

  • Weak areas within your colon
  • Older age
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diet high in animal fat
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Some medications

Ways to reduce your risk of developing diverticulosis and diverticulitis include getting regular exercise, eating nutritious foods (especially eating more fiber), and maintaining a healthy body weight. Don’t smoke and drink plenty of fluids. 

How does my doctor diagnose diverticulosis?

The Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg team often diagnoses diverticulosis during a colonoscopy.

However, if you suspect you have diverticulitis, your provider discusses your medical history and symptoms with you, checks your vital signs, and completes a physical exam. 

They check your abdomen for tenderness, recommend a pelvic exam in women, and might order blood tests, pregnancy tests, stool tests, liver enzyme tests, CT scans, or other diagnostic tests.

How are diverticulosis and diverticulitis treated?

Diverticulosis typically doesn’t require any treatment. However, your Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg provider may recommend diet changes to help you avoid constipation. 

If you experience symptoms related to diverticulosis, your provider may recommend supplements, probiotics, or prescription medications.

If you have diverticulitis, your Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg provider personalizes treatments based on the severity of your condition and whether or not you have underlying medical problems. They could recommend antibiotics, a temporary liquid diet, or intravenous antibiotics, as well as a tube to drain an abscess.

Sometimes you need surgery if you have a complication associated with diverticulitis or experience recurring episodes of diverticulitis attacks. The Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg specialists might recommend bowel resection or other surgical procedures to reduce symptoms and your risk of complications. 

If you suspect you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis, call one of the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg offices or schedule an appointment online today.