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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

Diverticular Bleeding

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


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What is diverticulosis?


Many people have small pouches in their colon (large intestine) that bulge outward, creating a diverticulum. This condition is also known as "diverticulosis."


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The condition becomes more common with age, and about 10 percent of Americans over 40 have diverticulosis. Nearly half of people over age 60 have diverticulosis.


About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common with age.

About half of people over age 60 have diverticulosis.

What is diverticulitis?


When these pouches become infected or inflamed, it is called "diverticulitis," as anything that ends in "-itis" means inflammatory diseases. This condition happens in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis. You can read more in my other posts.


When the pouches (diverticulosis) become infected or inflamed it is called diverticulitis.

Does "diverticulitis" cause lower gastrointestinal bleeding?


This condition, known as "diverticulosis," causes bleeding. Not when these pouches become infected or inflamed. That it is called "diverticulitis."


How common is diverticular bleeding?

It is the most common cause of lower gastrointestinal bleeding.


Diverticulosis) is the most common cause of lower gastrointestinal bleeding.

It is uncommon before 60 years of age. It is most common after age 70.


It is most common after age 70.

What are the risk factors for diverticular bleeding?


  • African-Americans

  • Obesity

  • Hypertension

  • Diabetes

  • Vascular disease

  • Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs doubles the risk


How is diverticular bleeding managed?


You may receive blood products and fluids.


Your colon may be cleaned out of all stool and blood with a colonoscopy prep.


Your doctor may order a CT angiography or embolization to stop the bleeding.


You may go on a clear diet, be placed on bed rest, and be under "observation."

Do I need a colonoscopy for diverticular bleeding from "diverticulosis"?


That depends if there was a colonoscopy completed in the recent past.


Also, the clinical presentation would determine if the lower gastrointestinal bleeding makes it a "high-risk" diverticular bleed.


Do I need a colonoscopy for "diverticulitis"?


High-risk patients are those most likely to have poor outcomes—such as those with "unstable vital signs, hematocrit below 35%, age over 60 years, and comorbidities." These high-risk patients should undergo colonoscopy within 24 hours.

The American Gastroenterological Association guidelines on diverticulitis recommend colonoscopy six to eight weeks after diagnosis.


Guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association on diverticulitis recommend colonoscopy six to eight weeks after diagnosis

Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

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