Healthsheet

Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis

You have diverticulosis. This means that small pouches have formed in the wall of the colon (large intestine). Most often, this problem causes no symptoms. But the pouches in the colon are at risk for becoming infected or inflamed. When this happens, the condition is called diverticulitis.

The doctor will talk with you about how to manage your condition. Diet changes may be all that are needed to help control diverticulosis and prevent progression to diverticulitis. If you develop diverticulitis, other treatments will likely be needed.

Home care

You may be told to take fiber supplements daily. Fiber adds bulk to the stool so that it passes through the colon more easily. Stool softeners may be recommended. You may also be given medications for pain relief. Be sure to take all medications as directed.

The following are general care guidelines:

  • Eat unprocessed foods that are high in fiber. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are good choices.

  • Drink 6–8 glasses of water daily.

  • Watch for changes in your bowel movements. Tell the doctor if you notice any changes.

  • Begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor how to get started.

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.

Follow Up

Follow up as advised by the doctor or our staff. Regular visits may be needed to check on your health. Be sure to keep all your appointments.

When to seek medical care

Get prompt medical attention if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your health care provider

  • Severe cramps in the lower left side of the abdomen or pain that is getting progressively worse.

  • Tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen or worsening pain throughout the abdomen

  • Diarrhea or constipation that does not improve within 24 hours

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Bleeding from the rectum


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