Diverticulosis and diverticulitis

Diverticula are small pouches that form in the walls of the digestive tract.

Overview

Diverticula are small pouches that form in the walls of the digestive tract. People with many diverticula have diverticulosis. Diverticulitis occurs when one or more of these diverticula become infected. Typical symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhoea or constipation. A high-fibre diet helps to prevent this condition.

Symptoms

People are usually unaware that they have individual diverticula or diverticulosis. Complaints only begin when inflammation occurs (diverticulitis).

Mild diverticulitis
  • Diarrhoea alternating with constipation
  • Bloating, lower abdominal pressure
  • Fatigue, reduction in ability to function
Severe diverticulitis
  • Fever and a strong feeling of being unwell
  • Severe pain (mostly localised on the lower left side of the abdomen)
  • Constipation, feeling of fullness and nausea
  • Possibly rectal bleeding
Complications of diverticulitis

Causes and treatment

Causes

Risk factors for the occurrence of diverticula include:

The colon is naturally inhabited by bacteria, and these bacteria make an infection worse.

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test (search for inflammatory markers)
  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • Endoscopic examination of bowel (colonoscopy)
Possible therapies
  • Painkillers
  • Antibiotics (for bacterial infections)
  • Operation (for complications, see “Symptoms”)

What can I do myself?

  • This condition can be prevented with a balanced diet rich in fruit, salad and vegetables
  • Obese people should lose weight

When to see a doctor?

Synonyms

Sepsis, Diverticulosis and diverticulitis, diverticulitis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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