Tags: Health Topics | diverticulitis | gastroenterology | ailments | digestive tract

This Medical Condition Is Becoming Another Epidemic

This Medical Condition Is Becoming Another Epidemic
Human large intestine showing diverticulitis, computer illustration. (Photo by: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 05 April 2021 10:17 AM

You can add diverticulitis to the list of age-related ailments doctors are seeing surge in numbers. Between 2003 and 2017 hospital admissions from this gastrointestinal disease soared 21% and annual costs to treat it are $ 2.6 billion, according to Cape Cod Health News.

"This is a very common condition," said Dr. David Guo, M.D. at Falmouth Specialty Care in Massachusetts. "When we do colonoscopies, we see that many people have diverticulosis. Based on statistics, about 60% of people over the age of 60 will have diverticulosis. When you get older it is more prevalent."

But Dr. Guo says that today, he and other gastroenterologists are seeing many more young people with the disease which has he calls "an epidemic." In fact, there has been an 88% rise in hospital admissions for people aged 18-44 years of age.

According to the Mayo Clinic, diverticulosis occurs when small, bulging pouches develop in your digestive tract. When these pouches become infected, the condition is called diverticulitis.

Dr. Guo says that our typical Western diet and lifestyle habits are partially to blame for the rise in diverticular diseases. Some of the causes are not eating enough fiber, a high fat diet, or one rich in red meat, as well as not getting enough physical activity and obesity.

Smoking and the use of steroids or opioids can also trigger the condition, according to Cape Cod Health.

While some people think that eating nuts and seeds causes diverticulitis, Dr. Guo says that the opposite is true.

"If you stop eating them you may increase your risk of diverticulitis," says the expert.

Treatment can be conservative with the use of antibiotics and dietary changes. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the affected part of the bowel. For example, if the diverticulitis perforates the bowel this would require emergency surgery. Other conditions that would necessitate a surgical procedure would be if patients develop a fistula or peritonitis.

Natural ways to treat diverticulitis include going on a clear liquid diet and then adding low-fiber foods to give your digestive tract a rest and time to heal, according to Healthline. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol may help relieve pain. Do not use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Motrin as they could increase the risk of bleeding.

Some herbs have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and infection. These include garlic, green tea, ginger, and turmeric. Acupuncture is another treatment that can help digestive disorders.

While these home remedies may be effective in treating mild forms of diverticulosis, if you develop a fever, severe pain, or excessive rectal bleeding, seek medical help immediately.

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You can add diverticulitis to the list of age-related ailments doctors are seeing surge in numbers....
diverticulitis, gastroenterology, ailments, digestive tract
Monday, 05 April 2021 10:17 AM
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