This condition occurs when small protruding pouches in the large intestine, called diverticula, become inflamed or infected.
Diverticulosis is the presence of small protruding pouches, called diverticula, in the large intestine.
Diverticulitis occurs when one or more diverticula become inflamed or infected.
The risk of diverticula forming increases with age. However, it is not known why they develop.
If you develop diverticulitis, symptoms may include:
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of diverticulitis. He or she will look at your medical history and perform a physical exam. To check the severity of your disease and response to treatment, they may order:
Some procedures that may be ordered include a flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.
If you have diverticulosis, it is often recommended that you eat a high-fiber diet that includes such items as:
Your healthcare provider, who is an excellent source of dietary information, may also recommend over-the-counter fiber supplements.
If you have diverticulitis, treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms. For mild cases, your healthcare provider may recommend:
If you have a severe infection, or do not improve after outpatient treatment, you may need to be hospitalized.
For severe or recurrent episodes of diverticulitis, surgery may be needed to remove the affected part of the bowel.
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of diverticulitis.
Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.
Make sure you understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects). If surgery is recommended, you should know why that recommendation was made. Seek a second opinion if necessary.
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