Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form in the lining of your digestive system. They are found most often in the lower part of the large intestine (colon). Diverticula are common, especially after age 40, and seldom cause problems.
Sometimes, however, one or more of the pouches become inflamed or infected. That condition is known as diverticulitis (die-vur-tik-yoo-LIE-tis). Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in your bowel habits.
Mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest, changes in your diet and antibiotics. Severe or recurring diverticulitis may require surgery.
The signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include:
Several factors may increase your risk of developing diverticulitis:
Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed during an acute attack. Because abdominal pain can indicate a number of problems, your doctor will need to rule out other causes for your symptoms.
Your doctor will likely start with a physical examination, including checking your abdomen for tenderness. Women, in addition, generally have a pelvic examination to rule out pelvic disease.
After that, your doctor will likely recommend:
If you have a severe attack or have other health problems, you’ll likely need to be hospitalized. Treatment generally involves:
You’ll likely need surgery to treat diverticulitis if:
There are two main types of surgery: