[Diverticulosis and diverticulitis in the elderly].Fortschr Med 1998; 116(9):26-8, 30, 32-4FM
Diverticulosis of the colon is a disease that mainly affects the elderly, presenting in 10 to 20% of this age group. The most common complication--painful diverticular disease, is usually treated conservatively with a high-fiber diet, intermittent use of antispasmodics and possibly regulation of the stools. Diagnostic differentiation is best performed using ultrasonography of the bowel wall, supplemented where necessary by computer tomography and colonoscopy (sigmoidoscopy) or, where this latter is not possible, barium enema using Gastrografin. Conservative treatment of diverticulitis with antibiotics, bowel rest, possibly including parenteral alimentation, is usually applied for three to ten days. In the absence of a response to this treatment, frequent recurrence, immunosuppression or complications (perforation, peritonitis, enterovesicular fistula), surgery is indicated.