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Diverticular Disease (Singapore)

Diverticular disease (diverticulosis) is a common health condition that affects the colon and may cause serious complications. It is characterized by pouches of inflamed tissue (diverticula) in the wall of the large intestine. It affects people primarily over 40 years old and it can be treated with surgery or medications. Only a small number of patients will require surgery for it.

To find out more about diverticular disease in Singapore, you may choose to drop us a message or contact us during office hours to make an appointment or find out more about the diverticular disease in Singapore. On this page, Dr QM Leong has provided a comprehensive explanation of the symptoms and treatment for diverticular disease in Singapore. Read on to find out more.

Diverticula

What Is Diverticular

Diverticular disease is diagnosed when Singaporeans exhibit symptoms caused by diverticula, such as abdominal pain, irregular bowel movement, or blood in stools. When diverticula become inflamed or infected, the condition is known as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in bowel habits, and lead to the development of abscesses. If left untreated, diverticulitis can potentially lead to serious complications and even loss of life. It is therefore important to seek prompt treatment from a colorectal clinic in Singapore upon first experiencing these symptoms.

Symptoms Of Diverticular Disease In Singapore

Diverticula are sac-like pouches that protrude from the smooth muscular layer of the colon with age. These sac-like pouches tend to develop where the muscles are weakest, or at areas where penetrating vessels cross through the muscles. They are caused by increased pressure along these weakened areas, such as during constipated bowel movement, being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle, or due to a low-fibre diet.

The presence of diverticula, and consequently diverticular disease in Singapore, is more common in people over the age of 40, and affecting up to 50% of people over the age of 60. Generally, diverticula exhibit no symptoms and require no treatment. Consequently, diverticula are usually only discovered during a colonoscopy or CT scan, or when patients exhibit symptoms. 

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Both diverticular disease and diverticulitis exhibit similar symptoms, with diverticulitis having more intense and severe ones such as fever and intense pain.
By recognising these symptoms as they arise, patients are able to seek earlier and timely treatment at colorectal clinics, avoiding a significant decline in one’s quality of health.

More severe symptoms of diverticular disease include:

• Abdominal pain that tends to come and go and gets worse during or shortly after eating. Pain is relieved with passing motion or flatus.

• Constipation, diarrhoea, or both

• Blood in stools

If your diverticula become infected and inflamed (diverticulitis), you may suddenly experience these symptoms:

• Constant, more severe abdominal pain

• Have a fever of 38C

• Have diarrhoea or constipation

• Mucus or blood in your stools (rectal bleeding)

CT scan and colonoscopy are the two tests commonly done to confirm if you have diverticular disease or diverticulitis. The doctor will determine based on the diagnosis of the test.

Complications Of Diverticulitis

The inflammation of diverticula caused by diverticulitis can lead to other conditions beyond just fever and pain. Acute diverticulitis can lead to abscesses, blockages known as stenosis, fistulas which connect bowel sections and organs, as well as peritonitis, a dangerous condition of rupturing which requires immediate medical attention and treatment.

About 25% of people with acute diverticulitis develop complications, which may include:

1. An abscess, which occurs when pus collects in the pouch.

2. A blockage (stenosis) in your bowel caused by scarring.

3. A fistula (abnormal connection) between sections of bowel or the bowel and other organs.

4. Peritonitis, which can occur if the infected or inflamed pouch ruptures, spilling bowel contents into your abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is a surgical emergency and requires immediate treatment

Treatment For Diverticulitis And Diverticular Disease In Singapore

As with other conditions, prompt and effective treatment for diverticular disease and diverticulitis is key to avoiding more severe health outcomes. Treatment depends on the severity of conditions, which may range from medicines and eating a healthier diet, to undergoing major surgery to remove affected sections of one’s large intestine.

Medical Treatment

In mild cases, starting on a high fibre diet with simple painkillers and oral antibiotics will help. However, in more severe cases, admission to hospital for intravenous fluid and antibiotics with stronger pain killers may be necessary.

Surgical Treatment

In rare cases, surgery may be needed to treat serious complications of diverticulitis. Surgery usually involves removing the affected section of your large intestine. This is called a colectomy. This is the treatment for rare complications such as fistulas, peritonitis or a blockage in your intestines.

The most common complication of diverticulitis is developing abscesses. Severe abscesses are drained with a technique known as percutaneous drainage, which is done by a radiologist. Often, after the abscess is successfully drained, surgery can be planned electively.

How We Can Help With Diverticular Disease In Singapore

Dr QM Leong is an experienced colorectal doctor with relevant medical specialities in laparoscopic surgery, colorectal surgery, diverticular disease treatment and will accurately diagnose your condition for any signs or common symptoms before determining the ideal treatment to prevent diverticular disease for your condition. We are fully committed to providing a pleasant experience, treatment and patient care, so do not hesitate to seek immediate medication attention by calling us to find out about diverticulitis or make an appointment with us to understand more about it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Diverticular Disease In Singapore

Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticula (pockets) develop in the gastrointestinal tract. Diverticulitis can be severe and, in some cases, even life-threatening. Some of the commonly known health conditions from diverticular include perforation, obstruction and strictures, fistulas and abscess and rectal bleeding.

Diverticular disease is very common in Singapore. As diverticular disease increases with age, in an ageing population like Singapore, diverticular disease is becoming more common. As we adopt a more western-style diet and sedentary lifestyle, Singaporeans will experience a higher incidence of diverticular disease because of a lack of fibre and exercise. It is estimated that 50% of people over 60 years old have diverticular disease.

It is always never too early to seek medical attention when in doubt. You should contact a specialist as soon as you spot symptoms and signs of diverticular disease. If you are unsure if the symptoms can be self-treated at home or are experiencing discomfort and severe pain, please call us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.