Diverticulosis & Diverticulitis

Sometimes small pouches bulge outward through weak spots in the colon. This is called diverticulosis. The pockets (called diverticula) can fill with intestinal waste. With diverticulitis, these pockets and areas around them get inflamed or infected.

Signs &

Symptoms

Causes

Treatment

Questions
to Ask

Self-Care /

Prevention

For Diverticulosis

Often this has no symptoms. Some persons may have:

•  Mild cramps.

•  Bloating

•  Constipation.

•  Blood in the stool.

For Diverticulitis

•  Severe cramping and bloating in the abdomen, usually on the lower left side. The pain is made worse with a bowel movement.

•  Tenderness over the abdomen.

•  Nausea.

•  Fever.

Illustration of diverticulosis in colon.

Diverticulosis in Colon

A low fiber diet is thought to be the main cause. Constipation and overuse of laxatives may also play a role.

Illstration of colon with diverticulitis.
Image of doctor holding medicine.

Diverticulitis needs medical treatment. Diverticulosis can’t be cured, but self-care measures can reduce symptoms and prevent serious problems.

Image of water bottle and weights.

•  Get regular exercise. Drink 1-1/2 to 2 quarts of water daily. Eat a diet high in fiber, but avoid foods that bother you (e.g., corn, nuts, etc.).

•  Avoid the regular use of “stimulant” laxatives, such as Ex-Lax. Ask your doctor about taking bulk-forming laxatives like Metamucil.

•  Try not to strain when you have bowel movements.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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