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Diverticulitis - what to ask your doctor

What to ask your doctor about diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is inflammation of small pouches (diverticula) that can form in the walls of your large intestine. This leads to fever and pain in your belly, most often the lower left part.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider about diverticulitis.

Questions

What causes diverticulitis?

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

What type of diet should I be eating?

  • How do I get more fiber in my diet?
  • Are there foods that I should not be eating?
  • Is it OK to drink coffee or tea, or alcohol?

What should I do if my symptoms become worse?

  • Do I need to change what I eat?
  • Are there medicines that I should take?
  • When should I call the doctor?

What are the complications of diverticulitis?

Will I ever need surgery?

References

Bhuket TP, Stollman NH. Diverticular disease of the colon. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 121.

Peterson MA, Wu AW. Disorders of the large intestine. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 85.

  • Colonoscopy

    Colonoscopy - illustration

    There are 3 basic tests for colon cancer; a stool test (to check for blood), sigmoidoscopy (inspection of the lower colon), and colonoscopy (inspection of the entire colon). All 3 are effective in catching cancers in the early stages, when treatment is most beneficial.

    Colonoscopy

    illustration

  • Diverticulitis

    Diverticulitis - illustration

    In most patients with diverticulosis, the diverticula do not cause any problems or symptoms. In some cases, a small, hard piece of stool is trapped in the opening of the diverticula, which then become inflamed. When this occurs, the condition is called diverticulitis. A small tear may develop in the lining of the intestine inside the diverticula, which can lead to an infection at the site and sometimes death of the segment of colon containing the diverticula.

    Diverticulitis

    illustration

    • Colonoscopy

      Colonoscopy - illustration

      There are 3 basic tests for colon cancer; a stool test (to check for blood), sigmoidoscopy (inspection of the lower colon), and colonoscopy (inspection of the entire colon). All 3 are effective in catching cancers in the early stages, when treatment is most beneficial.

      Colonoscopy

      illustration

    • Diverticulitis

      Diverticulitis - illustration

      In most patients with diverticulosis, the diverticula do not cause any problems or symptoms. In some cases, a small, hard piece of stool is trapped in the opening of the diverticula, which then become inflamed. When this occurs, the condition is called diverticulitis. A small tear may develop in the lining of the intestine inside the diverticula, which can lead to an infection at the site and sometimes death of the segment of colon containing the diverticula.

      Diverticulitis

      illustration

    Talking to your MD

     
     

    Review Date: 7/17/2020

    Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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