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What are some complications of diverticulitis?

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Complications of diverticulitis include abscesses, blockages in the large intestine, and fistulas between the colon and the bladder or between areas of the colon, says Mayo Clinic. Diverticulitis involves inflammation of small pouches, or diverticula, in the intestines. Peritonitis is a serious complication that occurs if one of these pouches ruptures and spills matter from the intestines into the abdominal cavity.

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Bleeding from the rectum is another potential complication of diverticulitis, says the University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery.

Abscesses occur when an infection occurs within a diverticulum and the patient does not receive treatment, according to the University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery. Pus starts to collect in the diverticulum, which causes it to swell and destroys its tissue. A course of antibiotics can clear up a small abscess, but a larger one may require draining. The draining procedure involves insertion of a catheter into abscess.

Scarring from diverticulitis can be extensive enough to cause blockage of sections of the intestines, says the University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery. If the scarring completely blocks the bowel, emergency surgery is necessary. Surgery may also be necessary to repair fistulas and partial blockages of the colon.

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