Abdominal Conditions


Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches called diverticula that have formed on the inner lining of the intestine become infected or inflamed. These pouches are most often found in the colon. Diverticulitis is especially common after age 50 and is ascribed to a low fiber diet.


Symptoms of diverticulitis may start suddenly and worsen quickly. They include:

  • Tenderness, usually in the left lower side of the abdomen
  • Bloating or gas
  • Chills and fever
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Lack of appetite

If you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis and experience these symptoms, they may indicate more serious complications and you should seek medical treatment.

  • Blood in your stool
  • Fever above 100.4 °F that does not go away
  • Nausea, vomiting, or chills
  • Sudden belly or back pain that gets worse or is very severe


In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may order blood tests and a CT scan. These tests may also be used to diagnose diverticulitis.


Often diverticulitis can be treated with rest, a modified diet, pain medication and/or antibiotics. However, If you have recurring diverticulitis or an abscess, perforation, or fistula, surgery may be required to remove the diseased part of your colon. There are two types of surgery for diverticulitis:

Resection: In this operation, the diseased part of your intestine is removed, and the surgeon then reconnects the healthy segments of your colon that are left. Often this procedure can be done using laparoscopic surgery, which allows for a quicker recovery time. Depending on the level of inflammation in your colon, you may need to have open surgery, which involves a larger incision.

Resection with colostomy: In cases where there is too much inflammation in the colon for the ends to be rejoined, the surgeon makes an opening in your abdomen for waste to pass through into a colostomy bag. After the inflammation has had time to heal, your surgeon may be able to operate again to reconnect the ends of the colon.