Health A-Z


Clinical Definition

Diverticulitis is a condition that results when one or more diverticula become inflamed and infected. When the pouches become blocked with waste materials and bacterial buildup, the site then becomes inflamed and infected.  Cramps, abdominal tenderness, chills and fever can occur as the infection progresses. While the condition may resolve on its own, antibiotics may be needed and more rarely, surgery.

In Our Own Words

Diverticula are tiny pouches or sacs of tissue that can form in the lining of the colon wall. Diverticulitis is a condition resulting from one or more diverticula becoming inflamed and infected with bacteria. The formation of diverticula in the bowel lining is a condition called diverticulosis. Diverticulosis does not cause any symptoms. With diverticulitis, however, abdominal cramps or tenderness, chills and fever can occur.

Medical help is needed to diagnose diverticulitis, often verified with a history of symptoms, scans and examination of the intestines. While the condition sometimes resolves without any medical treatment, antibiotics are often prescribed. If the infection is severe, intravenous antibiotics may be given in the hospital. Surgery may be needed to remove the infected bowel, though this step is rare.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal tenderness
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