How is diverticulosis treated?

People who have diverticulosis without symptoms or complications do not need treatment, but it is important to adopt a high-fiber diet.

Laxatives should not be used to treat diverticulosis. The patient should also avoid enemas, or use them infrequently.

How is diverticulitis treated?

Diverticulitis sometimes gets better without medical treatment, but in many cases the patient will need antibiotics. Sometimes the infection is so severe that the patient has to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics and other supportive care. In rare cases, a surgeon may need to take out the affected part of the bowel.

During the active stage of the infection, many experts recommended eating a low-fiber diet and drinking plenty of water. A month or so after the infection gets better, fiber should be back on the menu.

Emergency treatment, including surgery, may be needed when the antibiotics do not work, and in cases of a large abscess, perforation, peritonitis, or continued rectal bleeding.

If there is an abscess, the doctor may need to drain the fluid by inserting a needle into the infected area. Sometimes surgery is needed to clean the abscess and remove part of the colon.

If the infection spreads into the abdominal cavity (peritonitis), surgery is needed to clean the cavity and remove the damaged part of the colon. Infection can lead to scarring of the colon, and the scar tissue may cause a partial or complete blockage. A complete blockage requires surgery, although a partial blockage does not.

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