Learn About Diverticulitis

What is the definition of Diverticulitis?

Diverticula are small, bulging sacs or pouches that form on the inner wall of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when these pouches become inflamed or infected. Most often, these pouches are in the lower part of the large intestine (colon).

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What are the causes of Diverticulitis?

The formation of pouches or sacs on the intestinal lining is called diverticulosis. It is found in more than half of Americans over age 60. However, no one knows exactly what causes the pouches to form.

Eating a low-fiber diet mostly made up of processed foods may be a cause. Constipation and hard stools are more likely when you do not eat enough fiber. Straining to pass stools increases the pressure in the colon or intestines, which may lead to the formation of these pouches.

In some cases, one of the pouches can become inflamed and a small tear develops in the lining of the intestine. This can lead to an infection at the site. When this occurs, the condition is called diverticulitis. The cause of diverticulitis is not known.

What are the symptoms of Diverticulitis?

People with diverticulosis often have no symptoms, but they may have bloating and cramping in the lower part of the belly. Rarely, they may notice blood in their stool or on toilet paper.

Symptoms of diverticulitis are more severe and often start suddenly, but they may become worse over a few days. They include:

  • Tenderness, usually in the left lower part of the abdomen
  • Bloating or gas
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Not feeling hungry and not eating
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What are the current treatments for Diverticulitis?

The treatment of diverticulitis depends on how serious the symptoms are. Some people may need to be in the hospital, but most of the time, the problem can be treated at home.

To help with the pain, your provider may suggest that you:

  • Rest in bed and use a heating pad on your belly.
  • Take pain medicines (ask your provider which ones you should use).
  • Drink only fluids for a day or two, and then slowly begin drinking thicker liquids and then eating foods.

The provider may treat you with antibiotics.

After you are better, your provider will suggest that you add more fiber to your diet. Eating more fiber can help prevent future attacks. If you have bloating or gas, reduce the amount of fiber you eat for a few days.

Once these pouches have formed, you will have them for life. Diverticulitis can return, but some providers think a high-fiber diet may lessen your chances of a recurrence.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Diverticulitis?

Most often, this is a mild condition that responds well to treatment. Some people will have more than one attack of diverticulitis. Surgery may be needed in some cases. Many times, providers will recommend that you have a colonoscopy after diverticulitis has healed. This can help to rule out other conditions that could mimic diverticulitis symptoms.

What are the possible complications of Diverticulitis?

More serious problems that may develop are:

  • Abnormal connections that form between parts of the colon or between the colon and another part of the body (fistula)
  • Hole or tear in the colon (perforation)
  • Narrowed area in the colon (stricture)
  • Pocket filled with pus or infection (abscess)
  • Bleeding from the diverticula
When should I contact a medical professional for Diverticulitis?

Contact your provider if symptoms of diverticulitis occur.

Also call if you have diverticulitis and you have:

  • Blood in your stools
  • Fever above 100.4°F (38°C) that does not go away
  • Nausea, vomiting, or chills
  • Sudden belly or back pain that gets worse or is very severe
Digestive system
Colon diverticula - series
What are the latest Diverticulitis Clinical Trials?
TOcilizumab and Covid-19 : Risk of Severe INfection

Summary: SARS-CoV2 is responsible for a pandemic that has been evolving for approximately 18 months. The virus' capacity for dissemination and its virulence are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. The initial lack of knowledge of the pathogen and of the pathophysiology underlying the potential severity of the disease, particularly in the respiratory tract, led to numerous therapeutic attem...

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French Prospective Clinical Database of Colorectal Robotic Surgery

Summary: Evaluation of robot Da Vinci Xi by determining its learning curve.The operating time will be defined by patient then the operating average will be calculated.

What are the Latest Advances for Diverticulitis?
Elective surgery for conservatively treated acute uncomplicated diverticulitis: a systematic review of postoperative outcomes.
Hartmann's procedure versus primary anastomosis for Hinchey stage III diverticulitis: a prospective case-control study.
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The outcomes of right-sided and left-sided colonic diverticulitis following non-operative management: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: May 04, 2022
Published By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Bhuket TP, Stollman NH. Diverticular disease of the colon. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 121.

Kuemmerle JF. Inflammatory and anatomic diseases of the intestine, peritoneum, mesentery, and omentum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 133.