You should seek medical attention anytime you experience unexplained pain. The same goes for unexplained weight loss. Shedding pounds unintentionally is a rare but possible occurrence with conditions such as diverticulitis, which is inflammation in your digestive system.
Nina Paonessa, DO, of Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery PC, is a highly trained colorectal expert who can effectively treat diverticulitis. Starting with the most conservative treatments, she aims to relieve your symptoms and help you restore overall health.
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a condition in which protrusions in the large or small intestine — called diverticula — become inflamed. If there are multiple diverticula, that’s called diverticulosis, which is very common. In fact, diverticulosis is so common that more than half of Americans over 60 have the condition.
Intestinal diverticula don’t initially cause any symptoms, and most people diagnosed with diverticulosis don’t develop symptoms. Less than 5% of diverticulosis patients develop diverticulitis. If the diverticula become inflamed, symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, constipation, and gas can occur.
Additionally, diverticulitis can cause a loss of appetite, and you might experience unhealthy or unexplained weight loss.
One-quarter of all diverticulitis patients encounter complications after their diagnosis, and, in the United States, approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized for diverticulitis every year.
Symptoms of diverticulitis
The classic symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Pelvic pain on the left side
- Constipation followed by episodes of diarrhea
Diverticulosis doesn’t always cause weight loss, but serious cases can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, frequent diarrhea, and constipation — all of which could lead to unintentional weight loss.
When is weight loss unhealthy?
In acute and chronic cases of diverticulitis, your appetite is often reduced, and you may experience symptoms such as fatigue and poor performance. Sometimes these symptoms are the first signs that something is wrong with your body.
Digestive tract disorders like diverticulitis can cause nausea or abdominal pain, significantly reducing your desire to eat. Other diseases such as gastrointestinal infections, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) can also cause nausea or pain.
In some severe diverticulitis cases, your body can’t absorb enough nutrients through the intestines, causing unhealthy weight loss.
If you have no appetite for a long time for no apparent reason and are losing weight, call Dr. Paonessa. A doctor’s visit is also strongly recommended if your weight loss is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain or headache pain
- Excessive thirst
- Fever and night sweats
- Fatigue and listlessness
- Shortness of breath
Diverticulitis is treatable. If you’re concerned about diverticulitis symptoms or if you’ve noticed weight loss you can’t explain that’s accompanied by other symptoms, call an expert. You can contact Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery PC online or over the phone to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Brielle or Manahawkin, New Jersey.