Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How is diverticulitis treated?"
I was recently diagnosed with diverticulitis. What lifstyle changes do I need to make to treat it? I am 50 and experiencing a great amount of pelvic pain.
When diverticulitis is diagnosed, and there are no immediate complications of the problem, then a round of antibiotics and conservative treatment with pain control and supplemental fluids is often curative. If there are complications of the episode, such as the formation of an abscess or perforation of the intestine, then the treatment strategy changes, and may involve drainage with a catheter advanced through the skin or even surgery. If recurrent bouts of diverticulitis in the same area of the colon become a problem, then some physicians would advocate for surgical removal of that segment of the bowel to avoid future complications. After an acute episode of diverticulitis has resolved, patients are often advised to increase the amount of fiber and fluid in their diet. These measures can, in theory, help reduce constipation as well as decrease the amount of pressure within the colon, helping to prevent the formation of new diverticuli (outpouchings of the colon wall) and thereby lower the risk of future bleeding or infection. Additionally, it is often recommended that patients that are diagnosed with diverticulitis undergo colonoscopy in the 1-2 months following the event, to ensure that there is no other complicating factor that caused the initial inflammation. Since you are 50 years old, colon cancer screening is recommended in any case.