Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a large intestine and a small intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your small intestine with your rectum (the pouch at the end of your large intestine where stool is stored until you pass it). Small sacs or pouches (diverticula) can develop in your large intestine. They're probably caused by high pressure in the intestine. Having several of these pouches is called diverticulosis Diverticulosis Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a small intestine and a large intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your... read more .
Diverticulitis is a complication of diverticulosis. Stool and bacteria get trapped in diverticula, small pouches or sacs that form in the lining of your intestine. The bacteria cause an infection.
Diverticulitis happens in people who have diverticulosis Diverticulosis Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a small intestine and a large intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your... read more , a condition in which sacs or pouches form in your large intestine.
Sometimes, stool and bacteria get into one of the sacs (diverticula), causing inflammation and infection.
If you have diverticulosis, you have a higher risk of getting diverticulitis if you:
Diverticulitis can cause problems such as:
Abscess (a collection of pus)
Infections in nearby organs or in the belly space between organs (peritonitis)
Serious infection in your blood causing other organs not to work right (sepsis Sepsis Sepsis is when germs (bacteria) get into your bloodstream and trigger a serious body-wide reaction. When sepsis is severe, one or more of your organs may shut down. For example, your kidneys... read more )
Intestinal blockage from scarring in the intestine
Fistula (an abnormal connection between two organs that shouldn’t connect, such as the intestine and the bladder)
Doctors usually do tests such as:
You can treat mild diverticulitis at home with:
If you have more serious symptoms, you may need to stay in the hospital for treatment. Your treatment may involve:
You may need emergency surgery if:
Your doctor removes the ruptured (burst) part of your intestine. Then your doctor will either reconnect your intestine or give you a temporary colostomy. A colostomy is a surgical opening in your belly connected to one end of your intestine. Stool exits into the colostomy bag while your intestine heals.
A fistula that forms can also be treated with surgery.
Several weeks after you're better, doctors usually do a colonoscopy Endoscopy "Endo" means inside, and "scope" means look. So an endoscope is an instrument doctors use to look inside your body. Endoscopes can also be used to do tests and treat diseases. Endoscopes are... read more (a test in which a doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube with a small camera through your rectum to look at your large intestine) to be sure that your intestine has healed.
Doctors will also tell you to:
It's important to call your doctor if symptoms of diverticulitis happen again.