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Diverticulosis & Diverticulitis in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Dr. Angela Merlo M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist providing exceptional care patients with diverticulitis and diverticulosis.

What is Diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is characterized by sac-like protrusions of the colon wall. Diverticulosis can exist with or without symptoms. Symptoms are painful spasms associated with trapped gas, bleeding or infection (diverticulitis). Only about ten percent of individuals with diverticulosis ever experience bleeding or infection.

What Causes Diverticulosis?

The cause of diverticulosis is not understood except that altered motility of the colon plays a role. Contrary to popular belief, nuts, corn and seeds are not associated with the development of diverticulosis, diverticular bleeding or diverticulitis. Established risk factors for diverticulosis include:

  • Diet high in fat and low in fiber
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Diagnosis of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Most people with diverticulosis experience no symptoms. The diagnosis is made on colonoscopy or CT scan.  Diverticulitis is suspected when an individual with diverticulosis presents with one or more symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea, constipation or sense of inability to evacuate completely

Other digestive disorders cause similar symptoms which is why the correct diagnosis is crucial. Not all cases of abdominal pain in people with diverticulosis should be attributed to diverticulitis and treated with antibiotics. Dr. Merlo is an expert at providing her patients with the most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment available without the use of unnecessary prescription medication.

Treatment for Diverticulitis

The treatment for diverticulitis involves dietary adjustments to rest the bowel. Antibiotics may be prescribed if bowel rest alone is insufficient. Hospitalization is occasionally required in severe cases when intravenous antibiotics or drainage of an abscess are required. Rarely surgery is required. Most people recover uneventfully from an episode of diverticulitis. Other people have a more chronic course with recurring episodes.

If you are experiencing symptoms or have concerns about diverticulosis or diverticulitis, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton today to set up an appointment with Dr. Merlo.