Diverticulosis: A benign condition where pouches form along the intestine wall. These pouches may form anywhere along the intestine, but are most commonly found at the end of the descending and sigmoid colons on the left side of the abdomen. They are also commonly found in the first section of the small intestine, but diverticula in this area rarely cause problems.
Diverticulitis: involves small abscesses or infection in one or more of the diverticula, or perforation of the bowel.
Diverticulosis– The thickening of the outer wall of the intestine causes narrowing of the inner space. This narrowing causes stool to move more slowly. Hard stools, produced from a low fiber diet, and slower transit time through the intestine create pressure on the intestinal wall, thus forming pockets called diverticula. These pockets are most often asymptomatic.
Diverticulitis- Stool passing slowly through the intestine deposits fecal material in the diverticula. Over time, bacterial overgrowth causes an inflammatory response and may form an abscess or infection in the diverticula. Advanced diverticular disease can result in perforations of the intestine and peritonitis if infection is leaked through the perforations into the abdominal cavity.
Patient will be free from pain and infection and will be compliant with appropriate diet and medication regimen.
Fever / chills are signs of infection and possibly early peritonitis
Maintain NPO status during initial phase of antibiotic treatment to kill infection and help bowel rest
As symptoms decrease, advance diet to clear liquids and then increase fiber slowly.
Detailed abdominal assessments will indicate if inflammation or infection may be developing. For example, a rigid abdomen may indicate peritonitis.
Maintain optimal hydration for improved intestinal motility to prevent constipation
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