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What is acute diverticulitis?

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Acute diverticulitis is the sudden inflammation or infection of diverticula, which are small pouches that can develop inside a person's intestinal wall, states WebMD. While the formation of diverticula is common and rarely causes problems, when one of them tears, it becomes more susceptible to inflammation and infection, reports Mayo Clinic.

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Symptoms of acute diverticulitis may last a few hours to several days and include abdominal cramps, tenderness or pain that is typically located in the lower left side and becomes worse when a person moves. Additional symptoms include nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea and constipation, according to WebMD.

Treatment usually depends on the severity of a person's symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. For example, if a person's symptoms are mild enough, then she can be treated at home. This could include switching to a liquid diet for a few days, antibiotics and over-the-counter pain relievers. For more serious occurrences of acute diverticulitis, a person usually has to be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics and may require the insertion of a tube to help an abscess drain, if one has formed. Doctors may also recommend surgery to treat the condition, especially if a person develops a complication such as a bowel obstruction or perforation, the patient's immune system is compromised or the patient has had several episodes of acute diverticulitis in succession.

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