Diverticulitis is caused by a condition called diverticulosis, which involves small pouches (diverticula) in the digestive tract and is common in people over the age of 40. Nearly half the people in the US experience diverticula by the time they are 60. Diverticula can occur anywhere within the digestive tract but are most common in the large intestine (colon). Although these pouches are often harmless, they can become infected and lead to pain, fever and nausea a condition called diverticulitis.
When these pouches become infected, they cause symptoms similar to appendicitis, with severe abdominal pain focused on the left side rather than the right. This condition also causes fever, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and rectal bleeding. The diverticula form from pressure on naturally weak areas of the colon, and infection occurs from prolonged pressure. Certain factors, such as age, lack of fiber and lack of exercise, may increase the pressure on the colon.
Since diverticulosis does not cause symptoms, it is often detected during routine screening exams, while diverticulitis can be diagnosed during a flare-up of symptoms. Your doctor may perform a blood test and CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Because diverticulitis can lead to serious complications, it is important to effectively treat the condition. Treatment depends on the severity of the infection but can range from rest to hospitalization to surgery to remove part of the colon. A diet high in fiber may help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of developing diverticulitis.
Dysphagia is a common condition that involves difficulty swallowing and an unpleasant sensation of having food and/or liquid sticking in the esophagus, the tube that stretches from the throat to the stomach. This condition may affect patients of any age, although it is more common in older patients.
In addition to difficulty swallowing, patients with dysphagia may also experience choking, regurgitation, weight loss, chest pain and a sore throat. This condition is often associated with others such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), neuromuscular disorders or tumors within the esophagus.
Your doctor may perform a series of tests in order to diagnose dysphagia or its underlying cause. Some of these tests may include an oral-pharyngeal video swallow, barium swallow, endoscopy or manometry.
Treatment for dysphagia may include a combination of medication, exercises and surgery. The best treatment for you depends on the severity of your condition, as well as what kind of symptoms and complications you may be experiencing. Certain life changes may be effective for relieving dysphagia symptoms caused by GERD, including remaining upright after eating and making changes to your diet.