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Diverticulitis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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


WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • IV fluids may be given to treat or prevent dehydration.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests may show infection or give information about your overall health.
  • CT scan or ultrasound pictures may be used to find problems in your intestines. You may be given contrast liquid to help your intestines show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • A colonoscopy may be used to look at your intestines with a scope. A scope (long bendable tube with a light on the end) is used to take pictures. This test may show swollen diverticula or bleeding. Samples may be taken from your digestive tract and sent to a lab for tests. Bleeding may be controlled with tools that are inserted through the scope.

Treatment:

  • A clear liquid diet may help your intestines heal. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is okay to eat solid foods again.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube may be inserted to let your intestines rest. An NG tube is a thin tube that is inserted through your nose and into your stomach. It helps remove fluid and air.
  • Drainage of an infected diverticula 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 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.

RISKS:

After treatment, diverticulitis may come back. You may have more infections in your intestines or urinary tract. Your intestines could stop working correctly or rupture (tear). Bowel movement or urine could begin to leak into your other organs. This can be life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 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.

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