Stomach pain and infections can be a major source of frustration, and if you need surgery for diverticulitis, you might be out of work for some time. Diverticulitis is a type of disease that affects the lining of the intestines, and if you’re struggling with this condition and the symptoms that go along with it, you should learn more about the different types of Social Security benefits that you could be eligible for. It can be difficult to get the benefits that you need, but with the right attorney and some solid information about the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits, it becomes a lot easier to know what you need to do to potentially get approval.
What Is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a condition in which small, bulging pouches form in the lining of the digestive system. They’re common in people over the age of 40, and for most people, they don’t cause any problems. In fact, many times, diverticulitis can even be managed fairly easily even in people who have some symptoms. Unfortunately, there’s a certain percentage of the population that develops symptoms that can be very uncomfortable, painful, or even dangerous.
Certain factors put some people at a greater risk of complications than others. For instance, as people age, they’re more likely to develop diverticulitis. But other factors, such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, some types of medications, and the combination of a high-fat, low-fiber diet, can also increase the risk of developing diverticulitis.
While most people with diverticulitis don’t have severe symptoms, about a quarter of people with a severe form of the condition also have complications that could include an abscess, bowel blockage caused by scarring, or peritonitis, which is a medical emergency in which an inflamed pouch ruptures, causing stomach contents to spill all over the abdominal cavity.
There are some precautions that people can take to lessen the likelihood that they will experience diverticulitis. For instance, eating foods that are high in fiber and low in fat can reduce the likelihood of developing diverticulitis. So can staying active and drinking plenty of fluids. Finally, staying away from cigarettes can also lessen the likelihood of getting diverticulitis with symptoms.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Many people with diverticulitis experience no symptoms or only symptoms that are easy to ignore. But there are other people who develop severe symptoms. For instance, nausea and vomiting are common with people who have a more severe form of the condition. Along with that, abdominal pain and tenderness are also common. People will also have fever and chills.
Rectal bleeding and fistulas are also possibilities because there are perforations in the colon. Fistulas are tunnels that connect parts of the body that aren’t supposed to be connected, such as the intestines and other areas of the body.
Abscesses, which are pockets that are filled with pus, can also cause a lot of problems and pain. Quite often, they’re the result of infection, and they can often cause inflammation, which leads to more pain. Some people will also not feel like eating because of the nausea, and they can also experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation although diarrhea is less common than constipation. There might also be a general change in the bowel habits and even a greater amount of flatulency.
Treatments for Diverticulitis
The types of treatments that a person with diverticulitis will need depends on the severity of the case. Most people with diverticulitis can easily manage their symptoms with simple remedies and lifestyle changes. But people with more severe instances of diverticulitis often need more drastic measures.
For instance, someone with mild diverticulitis might need to take some antibiotics and rest at home for a while. They will also need to be on a liquid diet for a few days so that their bowels can heal more easily before they return to solid foods.
Someone with a more severe case of diverticulitis might decide that they need an intravenous insertion for antibiotics. Additionally, they might need to get a tube inserted into the abdomen to drain the fluid of any abscess that’s formed.
Surgery might be necessary for people who have a bowel abscess, obstruction, or fistula. It might also be a possibility for people who have had multiple episodes of uncomplicated diverticulitis or a weakened immune system. People who have surgery will get one of two types, usually. The first type is a primary bowel resection, which is a type of surgery in which the doctor removes diseased sections of bowels to resection them back together. The other type of surgery is bowel resection with colostomy. This type of surgery is a good option for people who have severely inflamed bowels, where a specific section can’t merely be cut out. Instead, a temporary colostomy, which is the connection of a bag on the outside of the body, is added until the bowels heal.
Disability Benefits for Diverticulitis
People with complicated diverticulitis might need help while they’re recovering from their flareup of the condition or any surgeries that they have to treat the condition. That’s why some people try to find out if they can get disability benefits through the Social Security Administration for their diverticulitis. One of the first criteria that a person must meet is being incapacitated by their diverticulitis for at least 12 months or expecting to be with it for at least that length of time.
Additionally, the person applying must meet at least one of a certain set of criteria. One of these symptoms is bowel obstructions over the course of the last six months that required hospitalization. Another option is to have at least two of the following criteria, which include peritonitis and fistulas occurring at least twice in the past six months with pain that can’t be controlled with medication, a mass in the abdominal region at least twice in the past six months that can’t be controlled with medication, severe anemia, low serum albumin, need for nutrition via a catheter or other tubes, or loss of more than 10% of body weight.
There are a few other ways that some people might be eligible for benefits. For instance, if the symptoms are equal to those of IBS, then the person might also fall under that listing. Otherwise, they might also meet the criteria for short bowel syndrome if they have to have surgery, or diverticulitis might be caused by certain types of cancers, at which point they would meet the listing for that.
Finally, it’s also possible to apply for disability benefits using the residual functional capacity test. This test compares the applicant’s limitations with previous jobs that they’ve done to determine whether or not there’s any work available to them.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Diverticulitis, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.