Specializing in Minimally Invasive Surgery
We specialize in minimally
invasive surgery including:

Reflux Surgery
Esophageal Myotomy for Achalasia

General Surgical service for
treatment of the following:

Anorectal Disease
Breast Disease
Dialysis Access
Endocrine Disease
Gastrointestinal Disease
Lower Extremity Venous Disease
Skin Cancer
Trauma Surgery
Pediatric Surgery

McLeod Health

Gastrointestinal Disease
Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis

What is diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is a small bulge or pouch that forms in the colon wall at an area of weakness. This can occur at any part of the colon, but most frequently occurs in the sigmoid colon, which is in the left lower abdomen.

Who gets diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis becomes more common as you age. It is rarely seen in people under 30, but up to 50% of people over age 50 have this condition.

Does diverticulosis cause symptoms?
Most people that have diverticulosis don't even know that they have it. In some cases diverticulosis can bleed, sometimes very heavily. More commonly, diverticulosis can become infected.

What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is when the diverticulae become infected or inflamed. This is thought to occur because the opening to the pouch becomes blocked with stool. This inflammation may lead to perforation of the colon, abscess formation, or obstruction. Between 10-25% of people with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis.

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?
Symptoms of diverticulitis include severe pain, fever, and chills. Nausea and vomiting are also common. Because the sigmoid colon is the most common location for this to occur, the usual location of pain is in the left lower abdomen.

What can I do to prevent diverticulitis?
People with diverticulosis may decrease their chance of getting diverticulitis by eating a high fiber, low-fat diet. Drinking lots of water may also help. The effectiveness of these modifications is largely unproven.

How is diverticulitis treated?
For very mild cases of diverticulitis in otherwise healthy people, antibiotics by mouth and bowel rest may be enough to resolve the infection and inflammation. For more severe cases, hospitalization with IV antibiotics may be required. Some cases are so severe that immediate surgery is required.

If I have a mild case of diverticulitis, how likely am I to have another bout?
Approximately 25% of patients who have a first episode of diverticulitis will have a second episode. After a second bout, resection is usually recommended. In younger patients (less than 40), recurrence is more likely; therefore resection is sometimes recommended after the first episode of diverticulitis.

What if I need my colon removed?
Colon resection for diverticular disease is a fairly common procedure. In an elective situation, resection is performed 6-12 weeks after the episode of diverticulitis. This period of waiting is to allow the inflammation to resolve. This surgery can frequently be done laparoscopically. For further details, refer to the colon section.

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