When you’re experiencing symptoms caused by some unknown condition, you may instantly begin to panic. What’s causing the discomfort? Can you afford to get treatment? And, should you seek medical attention immediately or can you wait? It may take time — and a doctor’s visit — to answer some of the millions of questions swirling in your head. But, if you’re experiencing symptoms of diverticulitis, your answers may come sooner than you expect. That’s because some signs of the condition shouldn’t be ignored — and require an immediate emergency room visit.
What is diverticulitis?
To explain diverticulitis, you must first understand about diverticulosis. This is the medical term used when a person develops pockets within the walls of their large intestine (also known as the colon). These pockets occur when the interior lining of the colon pushes against the weakest parts of the outer layers. If these pockets become inflamed, the condition is known as diverticulitis. This condition causes extreme pain in the abdomen and can be potentially deadly if not treated promptly and properly. Diverticulitis can also be dangerous because it shares common symptoms with other conditions — including:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Colon cancer
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
3 Symptoms That Indicate You Should Go to the ER
Nobody wants to go to the emergency room, but sometimes neglecting signs of a problem can have deadly consequences. That’s why you should go to an emergency room immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive vomiting and severe nausea
- Fever of more than 100 degrees — with or without chills
- Loss or sudden change in appetite
An emergency room will identify if any complications could prevent treatment or increase your risk of side effects — including death. In rare cases, a hole within your colon can form, which will need to be treated in addition to diverticulitis.
How to Treat Diverticulitis
During your trip to the emergency room, your doctor will administer a blood test to identify any infections. They may also conduct other tests to help diagnose diverticulitis — including CT scans, ultrasounds of the abdomen, and x-rays of the abdomen.
In most cases, diverticulitis can be treated at home with oral antibiotics, but if your condition is severe, a hospital stay may be required. Your doctor will recommend getting plenty of rest, taking medication to control pain, and drinking mainly fluids for the first couple of days of your recovery. After the first few days, you should introduce a high-fiber diet into your daily routine to ensure your bowels move regularly. You should incorporate foods such as:
- Cooked vegetables
- Cooked fruits
- Foods rich with probiotics
If your condition is extremely severe or other treatments have failed, your doctor may suggest surgery. There are many surgery options, so they’ll be able to provide the most information about which choice is best for your condition. You should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks before making any decisions.
If your condition is being treated with antibiotics, you must take them fully and as directed by your doctor. This can take as long as two weeks. But, you’ll begin to feel better in as short as 24-hours.
If you experience any complications or must receive surgery, your recovery time will take longer. After surgery, you’ll be able to return to normal activities within one to two weeks. You’ll also be required to make follow-up appointments to make sure that recovery is going well and that no infection has occurred. Infection can increase the time it takes to recover. How quickly you recover completely depends on many factors, including:
- The health of your colon
- Your age
- Your general health
24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas
If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.
Visit us online to find the Complete Care location nearest you.