William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis facts
- What is diverticulosis?
- What is diverticulitis?
- What are diverticulitis symptoms?
- What causes diverticula and how do diverticula form?
- What are the more serious complications of diverticulitis?
- How are the diagnosis of diverticulitis and diverticulosis made?
- What is the treatment for diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
- Medical treatment of diverticulitis and diverticulosis
- Surgical treatment for diverticulitis
- What can be done to prevent diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
- Pictures of Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Slideshow
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Surgical treatment for diverticulitis
Diverticulitis that does not respond to medical treatment requires surgical intervention. Surgery usually involves drainage of any collections of pus and resection (surgical removal) of the segment of the colon containing the diverticula, usually the sigmoid colon. Surgical removal of the bleeding diverticulum also is necessary for those with persistent bleeding. In patients needing surgery to stop persistent bleeding, it is important to determine exactly where the bleeding is coming from in order to guide the surgeon.
Sometimes, diverticula can erode into the adjacent urinary bladder, causing severe recurrent urine infection and passage of gas during urination. This situation also requires surgery.
Sometimes, surgery may be suggested for patients with frequent, recurrent attacks of diverticulitis leading to multiple courses of antibiotics, hospitalizations, and days lost from work. During surgery, the goal is to remove all, or almost all, of the colon containing diverticula in order to prevent future episodes of diverticulitis. There are few long-term consequences of resection of the sigmoid colon for diverticulitis, and the surgery often can be done laparoscopically, which limits post-operative pain and time for recovery.
What can be done to prevent diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
Once formed, diverticula are permanent. No treatment has been found to prevent complications of diverticular disease.
Diets high in fiber increases stool bulk and prevents constipation, and theoretically may help prevent further diverticular formation or worsening of the diverticular condition. Some doctors recommend avoiding nuts, corn, and seeds, which are thought by some to plug diverticular openings and cause diverticulitis, but there is little evidence to support this recommendation.
Because inflammation has been found at the edges of diverticula, it has been speculated that colonic bacteria may be playing a role in the rupture of diverticula by promoting inflammation. This has led some people to further speculate that changing the bacteria in the colon might reduce inflammation and rupture and to suggest treatment with probiotics; however, there is not enough evidence of a benefit of probiotics yet to recommend treatment with probiotics of patients with diverticular disease.
Additional resources from WebMD Boots UK on Diverticulitis
REFERENCE: Anne F. Peery and Robert S. Sandler. Diverticular Disease: Reconsidering Conventional Wisdom. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11:1532-1537.
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