Diverticulitis

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a condition that develops when diverticula, which are small pouches in the intestine, become inflamed or infected. It is not unusual for people to have diverticula, especially after the age of 40. In most cases, diverticula do not cause any problems, but when diverticulitis develops as a result of inflammation or infection, people will experience uncomfortable symptoms.

What are symptoms of diverticulitis?

Since diverticulitis affects the intestines, it causes symptoms associated with gastrointestinal distress. Common symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Pain, typically in the lower left portion of the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • In some cases, diarrhea

With symptoms of diverticulitis, abdominal pain may be constant and last for several days. Unexplained, persistent abdominal pain is a sign that you should seek medical treatment.

What causes diverticulitis?

According to experts, diverticula develop when pressure causes weak spots in the colon to give way. When these diverticula tear, it results in inflammation, and in some cases infection, leading to diverticulitis.

There are some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing diverticulitis:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being of older age
  • Taking certain medications, such as steroids or opioids
  • Eating a diet that is high in fat and low in fiber

How serious is diverticulitis?

In about 25% of cases, diverticulitis can cause complications. For instance, some people may develop abscesses, from pus collecting in the diverticula. Diverticulitis can also cause a blockage in the bowels as a result of scarring.

Another complication of diverticulitis is the development of a fistula, or an abnormal connection, between the bowel and other areas of the body.

In serious cases, diverticulitis can lead to peritonitis, which occurs when the diverticula rupture, causing material from the intestines to leak into the abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is considered a medical emergency.

What is the treatment for diverticulitis?

The treatment for diverticulitis will depend upon the severity of the condition. If you have a mild case, you can likely recover at home. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat diverticulitis, but sometimes, the condition will go away on its own without medication. A doctor is likely to recommend a liquid diet until symptoms of diverticulitis improve.

More serious cases of diverticulitis are likely to require hospitalization to treat the condition. During a hospital stay, treatment for diverticulitis includes intravenous antibiotics, as well as a tube to drain the fluid from an abscess, if one has developed.

For people who have recurrent cases of diverticulitis, a weakened immune system, or complications like a bowel obstruction, surgery may be necessary to treat diverticulitis.

You can reduce your risk of diverticulitis and related complications by getting plenty of exercise and eating a diet that contains adequate amounts of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to drink plenty of water and to avoid smoking.

Applicable Procedures

Colonoscopy

How serious is diverticulitis?

In about 25% of cases, people will suffer from complications with diverticulitis. These can include the development of abscesses, a bowel blockage, or an abnormal connection between the bowel and other body parts. In rare cases, it can cause a rupture called peritonitis, which is potentially life-threatening.

Are there ways to prevent diverticulitis?

You can reduce your risk of diverticulitis by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, and getting enough fiber in your diet.

What is the treatment for diverticulitis?

Treatment will vary based upon the severity of the condition. Some people may not need any treatment, whereas others will need to take antibiotics or follow a liquid diet. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Common Symptoms

  • “I sometimes suffer from stomach pain that is constant and lasts for days at a time.”
  • “My stomach is tender to the touch, and I get pain in the lower left area of my belly.”
  • “I have been experiencing nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting along with a slight fever.”

Find a Location in Your Area

Request an Appointment

What Our Patients Are Saying

I’ve been a patient of Dr. Weber for almost a decade. My husband for more than & it was he who recommended Dr. Weber. He’s knowledgeable & well experienced in his field. Plus he’s an all around kind & nice guy. And you’d like how the office & tech staff are trained to run the operation of this practice. Efficient, patient and helpful! I’d feel very comfortable recommending this practice.

Vicki M.

I had a great time. Everyone was very friendly and professional. One nurse said I had nice eyes, which really helped my self esteem. Dr. Willie was fantastic. His concern about having magenta ink for the printer really shows what a caring man he is. The pictures turned out great. I framed them and hung them up on my wall at home. But, seriously the experience was pleasant. Thank you to everyone involved.

Terry M.

Lord knows having a colonoscopy is zero fun. The prep nearly did me in. But after arriving at suite 270 every single person was pleasant and efficient. The attention to cleanliness in the office is very apparent and appreciated. Every employee introduced themselves by name, apologized for an IV that took two tries and made sure I was as comfortable as can be before I was ready to leave. However, I’m going to enjoy every minute of the five years before I need to return!

Marie C.

I have been here several times and have always been treated great. The receptionist are so kind and the nurses are wonderful so is the anesthesia person are so kind and answers any concerns you might have. My Dr Bologna is awesome. This is the place to go if you need endoscopy or colonoscopy. Thank all the staff for being so kind

Debbie A.

Our Doctors

We’re proud of our team here at Digestive Health Institute. Our health care providers include some of the very best colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and physician assistants. To learn more about our qualified team of specialists, please visit our providers page.

Anezi E. Bakken MD, MS

Sante D. Bologna MD, FACP

M. Emin Donat MD, FRCPC

Ronald Fogel MDCM, MHSA

Freeha Khan MD

Partha S. Nandi

Leonard G. Quallich III MD

Aditi Saxena MD

Jack Tocco DO

John R. Weber MD

Richard T. Wille MD

FAQs

What happens during my first visit?
If you are a new patient, you can expect to have a complete physical exam. You will also be asked detailed questions about your current problems and your past medical history, your current medications, allergies, your family history and other pertinent medical information. If you are taking medications, please bring a completed medical history form with you to your appointment. Once the physician has reviewed your medical information and completed the physical examination, a plan of care will be developed. You may need to be seen again in the office, be referred back to your family physician for follow-up care, or require additional testing. If additional tests are needed, we will assist you in scheduling these tests.
What if I need to schedule an endoscopic procedure?

An endoscopic procedure allows the physician to visualize a part of your gastrointestinal tract with a special instrument called an endoscope. If your family physician has ordered testing, you will be contacted by telephone by one of our staff members. If a physician orders testing and you are in the office, the procedure can generally be scheduled during the course of your visit. You will be given a date, time, and location for the test, as well as written instructions telling you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions about the procedure, please feel free to ask one of our staff members or the physician.

How do I get test results?

We ask that you wait 10 to 14 days before contacting us for results. Often results come from several different sources. This information needs to be compiled and reviewed by your physician before you can be appropriately advised. 

What insurances do you accept?

We accept payment from most insurance companies including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Physicians Health Plan, Cofinity, Sparrow Professional Health Network, Medicaid, McLaren, Health Plus, and several others. Accepted insurances are subject to change at any time without notice.

If your insurance requires an authorization from your primary care physician, you may be asked to assist us in obtaining this authorization.

All patients are responsible for all copays and deductibles at the time of service.

If you have any questions regarding your benefits or insurance coverage, please contact our Billing Department at 248-844-9710.

What if I need to contact the doctor?

To contact your doctor during business hours please call our main number 248-844-9710. If you have an urgent need to speak with the doctor after hours, you will be rerouted to our after hours answering service, and your doctor will be paged. In the case of a medical emergency please proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Related Content

How to tell if your stomach is not digesting food

How to tell if your stomach is not digesting food

Do you have a creeping suspicion that your stomach is not digesting your food normally? There could be several different reasons for this, including poor diet, lack of physical activity or an underlying medical condition affecting your digestive process. If you think...

Colon prep 101: Everything you need to know before your procedure

Colon prep 101: Everything you need to know before your procedure

A colonoscopy is a procedure that is performed on a patient by a gastrointestinal specialist so that the specialist can examine the condition of the inside of the colon. Colonoscopies are necessary to catch cancerous and precancerous polyps and screen for colorectal...

Probiotics: What do they actually do for gut health?

Probiotics: What do they actually do for gut health?

Ever bought a pack of yogurts at the store that was marketed as being a great source of probiotics? Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be found in cultured foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and many others. You may have heard...

Sign Up for Our Newsletter