Skip to Content

Diverticulitis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Diverticulitis

is a condition that causes small pockets along your intestine called diverticula to become inflamed or infected. This is caused by hard bowel movement, food, or bacteria that get stuck in the pockets.


Signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Pain in the lower left side of your abdomen
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • An urge to urinate or have a bowel movement more often than usual
  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Bloating and gas

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have bowel movement or foul-smelling discharge leaking from your vagina or in your urine.
  • You have severe diarrhea.
  • You urinate less than usual or not at all.
  • You are not able to have a bowel movement.
  • You cannot stop vomiting.
  • You have cramps or severe abdominal pain and a fever.
  • You have new or increased blood in your bowel movements.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain when you urinate.
  • Your symptoms get worse or do not go away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment:

Mild diverticulitis can be treated at home. You may need to rest and follow a clear liquid diet until your diverticulitis gets better. You will be admitted to the hospital if you have severe diverticulitis. You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • An IV may be used to give you liquids and nutrition. You may not be able to eat or drink anything until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Drainage may be done to reduce inflammation or treat infection. Your healthcare provider may insert a small tube through an incision in your abdomen to drain pus from infected diverticula.
  • Surgery may be needed if there is a hole in your bowel or a large amount of swelling. A healthcare provider will remove the infected or inflamed areas of your colon.

Clear liquid diet:

A clear liquid diet includes any liquids that you can see through. Examples include water, ginger-ale, cranberry or apple juice, frozen fruit ice, or broth. Stay on a clear liquid diet until your symptoms are gone, or as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for a colonoscopy. When your symptoms are gone, you may need a low-fat, high-fiber diet to prevent diverticulitis from developing again. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you create meal plans. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Hide