The sigmoid colon is the portion of the large intestine that is closest to the rectum and anus and is the primary portion of the intestine affected by a condition known as diverticulosis. Sigmoid diverticulosis treatment varies according to the individual symptoms and overall health of the patient. Common treatment options for diverticulosis include the use of prescription medications, dietary changes, and surgical intervention.
Prescription medications are often needed in order to successfully treat diverticulosis. Inflammation and infection are common in this condition, so antibiotics are frequently prescribed. Medications may also be prescribed to try to ease the frequency and severity of muscle spasms, which tend to lead to significant abdominal pain.
Dietary changes are typically suggested as part of a sigmoid diverticulosis treatment plan. A diet high in fiber can be especially helpful in the management of this condition. Foods that are naturally high in fiber include most fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains such as bran and cereals. Some foods, such as corn and celery, may aggravate diverticulosis and should be avoided when possible.
Increasing fluid intake is another important part of sigmoid diverticulosis treatment. Water is the best fluid to drink to keep the bowels operating smoothly, and it is generally recommended that the patient drinks around five glasses of water per day in addition to any other fluids that are being consumed. It is generally best to avoid extremely hot or cold beverages, as these extreme temperatures have been known to induce flare-ups and intensify symptoms in some people.
In severe cases of sigmoid diverticulosis, it may be necessary for the patient to be hospitalized for a brief amount of time. This is particularly true when the patient has become dehydrated. A small tube, known as an IV, is typically inserted into a vein so that fluids and any necessary medications can be delivered directly into the bloodstream.
In some cases, sigmoid diverticulosis does not respond to medical treatment, making surgical intervention necessary. This surgery may involve removing the bleeding diverticula or draining any pus caused by infection. In many instances, the damaged portion of the colon must be removed, and the healthy ends are then reattached to one another. This is considered a major surgical procedure, and the patient usually spends several days in the hospital following the operation so the medical team can watch closely for any potential signs of complications.