Diverticulitis is a condition in which pockets or outpouchings develop on the wall of the colon. When a diverticular pocket becomes infected, the condition is known as diverticulitis. These most commonly occur on the left side of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon. The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age and the condition is more common in western society, such as the United States.
Most patients with diverticulitis experience a range of symptoms, including persistent pain, nausea, and vomiting. The condition is found, incidentally, when they undergo diagnostic testing, such as a colonoscopy. The condition will often cause pain in the left lower abdomen, fever, and constipation. Diverticula can also occasionally bleed. This typically results in profuse, painless Diverticulitisrectal bleeding.
Diverticulitis is typically detected with a colonoscopy, through barium enema x-ray, or by CT scan. An infected diverticulum, or diverticulitis, can be diagnosed by typical symptoms and physical findings. An elevated white blood cell count will often be present on a complete blood count. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.
People with asymptomatic diverticulosis do not require any specific treatment. It is recommended that they consume a high fiber diet. It is no longer recommended that people with diverticulosis avoid specific foods such as seed or nuts. Diverticulitis is usually successfully treated by antibiotic therapy. Infection unresponsive to antibiotic therapy may require surgery. Bleeding from diverticulosis is usually self-limited and will subside with observation in the hospital. Persistent bleeding can often be controlled by performing a colonoscopy and injecting medication or clipping the bleeding diverticulum. Severe bleeding uncontrolled by these measures may require surgery.