Diverticulitis is caused by the inflammation of outpouchings of the large intestine called diverticula.

The diverticula are commonly seen in up to two-thirds of the general population and are usually asymptomatic. However, inflammation of these diverticula can result in diverticulitis. This can present with abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. It can also present with an abdominal abscess. Rarely the infected segment of the colon ruptures and presents as a surgical emergency requiring immediate hospitalization.

Diverticulitis is diagnosed by a clinical examination and confirmed with a CT scan. Blood tests are used to assess the severity of the infection.

It is usually treated with bowel rest and intravenous antibiotics in the acute phase and by oral antibiotics once the inflammation starts to settle. Recurrent attacks of diverticulitis or complications resulting from diverticulitis may lead to surgery. Surgery can usually be performed using minimally invasive techniques including robotic and laparoscopic surgery. If the condition presents as an acute surgical emergency, surgery usually results in the creation of a temporary stoma.

Read more about divericulitis at the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website.