What is diverticulitis?
The word “diverticulitis” literally means infection of a diverticulum. Diverticulitis occurs when a small piece of stool gets stuck in a diverticulum and causes ulceration and infection of the wall. The thin layer of the diverticulum can burst causing an abscess.
If the abscess is contained by the immune system then it is called “uncomplicated diverticulitis”.
- Continuous abdominal pain and tenderness
- Night sweats
- Nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness
Usually uncomplicated diverticulitis resolves by itself although antibiotics will speed up recovery time. Surgery is rarely required.
“Complicated diverticulitis” results when the abscess is not contained and the bacteria and stool spread into the abdominal cavity. This is then called “peritonitis”. A large abscess or a fistula (an abnormal connection or communication) into an adjacent organ can also occur. Complicated diverticulitis usually requires hospital admission, antibiotics, and surgical intervention.