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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding Diverticulosis and DiverticulitisDiverticulosis y la diverticulitis

Understanding Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Small pouches may form in your colon (large intestine) wall. This condition is called diverticulosis. If the pouches become inflamed, a more serious problem called diverticulitis has developed. Aging may contribute to colon problems. What you eat makes the real difference in the health of your colon.

Image of normal diverticula
Pouches or diverticula usually occur in the lower part of the colon called the sigmoid.

Managing Your Condition

You and your doctor can discuss how to control your diverticular condition. Diet changes or medications may be enough to bring relief. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Either way, the better you understand your body and your condition, the more you'll be able to benefit from treatment and be able to avoid colon problems in the future.

If You Have Diverticulosis

  • The two main keys to controlling diverticulosis are fiber (roughage) and liquid.

  • Fiber absorbs water as it travels through your colon, helping your stool stay soft and move smoothly.

  • Serious cases of diverticulosis may require stool softeners or antispasmodic medications for pain.

Image of infected diverticula
Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches become inflamed.

If You Have Diverticulitis

  • If your diverticulitis symptoms are mild, your doctor may begin treatment with a temporary liquid diet and oral antibiotics.

  • If your symptoms are relieved, you may be given a high-fiber diet.

  • If your diverticulitis is severe, you may need hospitalization and intravenous (IV) antibiotics and fluids.

  • Surgery may be necessary if other types of treatment don't successfully control your condition.

Keys to Colon Health

After treatment, help keep your colon healthy with a diet that includes plenty of high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink plenty of liquids like water and juice. Your doctor may also recommend avoiding seeds and nuts.

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2001-01-01T00:00:00-07:00

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