Diverticulitis occurs when one or more pockets of diverticula in your bowel wall becomes infected or inflamed.
These diverticula can occur in the bowel wall over time, and most people have little or no symptoms from these diverticula. They are most often found in your large intestine (sigmoid colon).
Symptoms of diverticulitis can come on quite quickly and may include:
- Pain and tenderness in your stomach (abdomen)
- Diarrhoea and/or constipation
- Fever and chills
- Rectal bleeding
Because the symptoms of diverticulitis are similar to many other conditions, diagnosis can be difficult. In the first instance a blood test may be used to rule out other conditions. Your consultant may then recommend:
How is diverticulitis treated?
If your symptoms are mild your consultant may prescribe antibiotics and over the counter pain medication such as paracetamol. They may also recommend a temporary change in your diet so that food is more easily digested.
More severe cases of diverticulitis may require hospital treatment including injections of antibiotics and intravenous fluids to keep you hydrated.
In rare cases chronic (long term) diverticulitis may require surgery to remove the affected part of your intestine.
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