Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that develop in the wall of the colon. These small pouches usually develop in people over the age of 50, and for most individuals, they do not cause a problem. If the diverticula become infected or inflamed, however, diverticulitis may result.
Infected pouches along the colon
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include pain, fever, nausea, and life-threatening infection.
If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor might conduct tests to confirm if you have diverticulitis, including:
- Abdominal palpation – where the doctor will feel your stomach region to detect the diverticulitis.
- CT scan – also called computerized tomography or CAT scan – when a series of X-ray views are taken from many different angles to create many images of the inside your body.
- Blood tests
Treatment for diverticulitis
Antibiotics and other medications can fight the infection, as well as decrease the abdominal pain. Instances where inflammation mild, limiting the diet to drinking clear liquids might help.
For severe cases of diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a primary bowel resection, in which the diseased segment of the bowel is removed and the healthy sections connected. If your bowel is too infected for your surgeon to reconnect, you might undergo a resection with a temporary colostomy procedure. This allows the infection time to heal before reconnection.
A colostomy is created when your surgeon makes an opening in your abdominal wall. Your colon is brought through this opening and connected to a bag. Waste passes through the colon and into the bag outside your body. A colostomy can usually be reversed after several weeks of healing.
To help prevent future attacks, a diet high in might help. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoid things that can lead to constipation.
Tel: 800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624)
Out of nearly 5,000 hospitals evaluated, Mount Sinai ranks #9 in the nation for Digestive Disease in the 2013-2014 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. Learn More