Munson Health
Related Information

Back to Document

by Wood D

(Acute Diverticulitis; Acute Colonic Diverticulitis)



The goals of treatment is to:
  • Resolve the infection and inflammation
  • Rest the bowel
  • Prevent complications
Treatments include:


Antibiotics and other drugs are given to fight the infection. Pain medications and drugs are given to decrease the abdominal pain.
You may also be given medication to help control vomiting.


For mild swelling, you can drink clear liquids for the first two to three days. For a more severe case, you will be admitted to the hospital, where fluids are given by IV. Antibiotics will also be given to you through IV.

Preventive Care

Changes in your diet can help prevent future attacks.
  • Increase the amount of fiber you eat by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Supplement your diet with a fiber product, as advised by your doctor
  • Avoid laxatives and enemas
  • Avoid narcotic medications—they can slow down bowel movement and can cause constipation


Surgery to remove the section of the bowel with pouches may be recommended if:
  • You have had multiple attacks during a two-year period
  • A pouch breaks and the contents spread into the abdominal cavity, which requires that the cavity be cleaned out
Surgery is also used to treat complications of diverticulitis, such as:
  • Abscess—occurs if the infected pouch fills with pus
  • Blocked bowel—scar tissue that forms and blocks movement of stool through the intestine
  • Fistula—occurs if the infection spreads and colon tissue attaches to another organ, such as the bladder or the uterus/vagina
When surgery is done on an elective basis, the surgeon will remove the part of the bowel that is diseased and connect the normal parts of the bowel back together.
When surgery is done on an emergency basis, the diseased part of the bowel will be removed. The healthy parts of the bowel will not be connected right away. Your bowel will need time to rest and heal. The upper part of the bowel will be attached to the abdominal wall. A port will allow waste to pass from the intestine to a bag outside of your body. If possible, the healthy bowel will be reconnected after 6-12 weeks.
If you are diagnosed with diverticulitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
If you are diagnosed with diverticulitis, follow your doctor's instructions .


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse



Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada



Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn's Current Therapy . 2001. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co;2001.

Diverticular disease. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: . Updated October 2012. Accessed March 5, 2013.

Diverticulitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated February 20, 2013. Accessed March 5, 2013.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: . Updated February 21, 2012. Accessed March 5, 2013.

Goroll AH, Mulley AG. Primary Care Medicine . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2000.

Rosen P. Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice . 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc;1998.

Weisiger R, Bilhartz L, Sleisenger MH, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease . 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co;1998.

2/9/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Hjern F, Wolk A, Håkansson N. Smoking and the risk of diverticular disease in women. Br J Surg . 2011;98(7):997-1002.


Revision Information