Questions and Answers About diverticulitis

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Individuals get diverticulitis when they have pouches that form on their colon wall and those pouches become inflamed or infected. Medical experts are not sure what causes diverticulitis but they suspect that individuals may be more prone to getting diverticulitis if they have a low-fiber diet. Diverticulitis basically occurs when bacteria gets trapped in the pounces (diverticula) and become infected and inflamed.


There are many questions that individuals ask when they are first diagnosed with diverticulitis. The goal of this article is to discuss some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions about diverticulitis.


One of the most commonly asked questions about diverticulitis is:


What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?


Individuals diagnosed with diverticulitis often present with the following symptoms:


Pain in the abdomen, usually in the lower left side. The pain worsens when the individual moves.


The individual with diverticulitis may run a fever or have chills because it is an infection.


They may notice bloating in the abdominal region and experience the passing of gas.


They may have either diarrhea or constipation.


Nausea and vomiting may occur, but sometimes these symptoms are not experienced.


Most individuals with diverticulitis do not feel like eating.


Another question asked by individuals has to do with the process of being diagnosed with diverticulitis, basically:


What tests does the doctor order?


Your doctor will conduct a physical examination first, and take a thorough medical history regarding symptoms and any signs of infection that have been experienced. Your doctor will order a blood test called a complete blood count or CBC. You may also have to undergo imaging tests such as x-ray, CT scan, or a type of test called a colonoscopy.


Once they are diagnosed with diverticulitis individuals want to know:


How will my diverticulitis be treated?


The treatment will vary depending on the symptoms and the severity of them. The treatment will be different if there are any complications from the diverticulitis such as peritonitis, perforation, abscess, obstruction or fistula.


If you are experiencing mild cramping the doctor may prescribe a heating pad, and acetaminophen for the pain. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection. These are usually given by mouth unless you are unable to keep anything down by mouth and then they are given intravenously, which requires hospitalization. If the antibiotics do not clear up the infection, you may require surgery. You will also require surgery if you encounter a bowel obstruction, peritonitis, a fistula, or a pocket of infection called an abscess.


People want to know how they can prevent diverticulitis especially once they learn that sometimes surgery is needed to treat complications from diverticulitis.


How to prevent diverticulitis?


You may be able to prevent diverticulitis by eating a diet that is high in fiber that includes fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It is also important to drink lots of water each day and to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day in order to help your bowels move normally. Doing all these things may help to prevent diverticulitis.

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