Diverticulitis commonly causes pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen, most often on the left side, explains Mayo Clinic. The pain may be persistent and last for several days.
Other symptoms of diverticulitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation and sometimes diarrhea, according to Mayo Clinic. Approximately one-fourth of individuals with diverticulitis have complications such as blockage in the small intestine or colon, an abscess, peritonitis or an abnormal bowel passageway.
Diverticulitis attacks range from mild to severe, explains WebMD. Mild diverticulitis may not need treatment, though it is generally treated with a clear liquid diet and antibiotics. Severe diverticulitis requires treatment in the hospital. More than half of individuals who experience a diverticulitis attack do not have a second attack. About half of those who do have a second attack experience it less than a year after the first attack.
Individuals more at risk for diverticulitis include those who smoke, do not exercise, are obese, or eat a diet low in fiber and high in animal fat, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals who take medications such as opiates, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also have a greater risk of developing diverticulitis.
To get treatment for diverticulitis, an individual can visit a primary care doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or internist, according to WebMD. Those that need additional treatment may be referred to a surgeon or gastroenterologist.