Diverticula are small bulging pouches that sometimes form in the intestinal lining. When those pouches get infected, the resulting condition is Diverticulitis. Diverticula are common in people above 40, and usually don’t cause major problems. However, when they get infected, they cause abdominal pain, swelling, and fever.

Signs and symptoms

Diverticulitis can cause abdominal pain, blood in the stools, bloating, nausea, and constipation.

Causes and risk factors

Diverticulitis usually occurs when the diverticula tear and get infected, or get blocked with stool. This is most common in people above the age of 40. People who are overweight, smoke cigarettes, lead sedentary lives and have insufficient fibre in their diet are also at an increased risk of diverticulitis.


If left untreated, diverticulitis can cause further complications such as abscesses around the diverticula, intestinal perforations, scarring and fistulas.


The doctor will begin with a physical exam, and then a series of blood tests, urine tests and stool tests, to find the infection. The doctor will then perform a CT scan to look for infected and inflamed diverticula. A liver enzyme test may also be needed.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

If the diverticulitis is mild, the doctor may recommend antibiotics along with rest and plenty of fluids to allow the walls of the intestine to heal. For more serious cases, intravenous antibiotics and fluids may be required, necessitating a hospital stay. If there is an abscess, the doctor will drain it. In extreme cases, where the intestine has ruptured, the doctor may opt to go for a surgical repair. Once healed, the doctor may perform a colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer.


To prevent diverticulitis, optimise your fibre-intake, exercise regularly and hydrate. If you are a smoker, stop.


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