Q:

What treatments are available for diverticulitis?

A:

Quick Answer

Diverticulitis treatments range from a course of antibiotics and a liquid diet at home to intravenous antibiotic treatment and bowel surgery, depending on the extent and severity of the infection, according to Mayo Clinic. Diverticulitis is an infection of the lower bowel lining.

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What treatments are available for diverticulitis?
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Full Answer

If there are no complications accompanying the infection, the doctor likely sends the patient home with a prescription for antibiotics. As the bowel heals, the patient moves from an all-liquid diet (lasting for up to a few days) to a gradual return to solid food. For discomfort, patients generally take over-the-counter pain medications. This treatment plan works for the vast majority of people with complication-free diverticulitis, notes Mayo Clinic.

If other problems exist or the diverticulitis attack is severe, hospitalization is likely. While in hospital, patients usually receive intravenous antibiotic medication, and medical staff drain any abscesses with a tube. If a perforation or bowel obstruction develop, the patient's immune system has been compromised or the patient has gone through multiple instances of uncomplicated diverticulitis, surgery is the most likely course of treatment. This takes the form of primary bowel resection, in which the surgeon removes diseased parts of the intestine, or a bowel resection with colostomy, in which the surgeon connects a healthy portion of the bowel with a stoma in the abdominal wall. Waste then goes through the stoma into a colostomy bag. After the swelling goes down, in some cases, the surgeon reverses the colostomy and connects the bowel again, reports Mayo Clinic.

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