Diverticulitis Treatment

Tenderness in your belly, cramping, poor appetite, and fevers could be signs of diverticulitis. Diverticulitis happens when small pouches (called diverticula) in the wall of your intestines get inflamed and swollen. When that happens, you might get bleeding inside your intestine.

These pouches are often found on screening colonoscopies. They don’t usually cause any problems. But they sometimes get infected.

Treating Diverticulitis at UVA Health

If you aren't having any symptoms, you don't need treatment. If we find you have an infection, we may give you antibiotics.


Surgery to remove part of your intestines may be recommended if:

  • You have had multiple diverticulitis attacks
  • A pouch leaks, which then requires cleaning your abdominal cavity
  • An infected pouch fills with pus (an abscess)
  • Scarring blocks stool from moving through your intestine
  • A small tube or connection (fistula) spreads to another organ

If you have a scheduled surgery, your surgeon usually removes the affected part of your intestine and connects the healthy parts back together.

If you have emergency surgery, your surgeon may not connect the healthy parts back together right away. Your intestine needs time to rest and heal. We'll attach the upper part of your intestine to your abdominal wall. That allows waste to pass to a bag outside of your body.

Preventing Diverticulitis

Talk with your doctor about preventing diverticulitis. Preventing constipation can help. To prevent constipation:

  • Increase how much fiber you eat (from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
  • Use a fiber product
  • Avoid narcotic medicines because they can cause constipation

Why Did I Get Diverticulitis?

We don’t know how diverticula form. They may be caused by:

  • Low-fiber diet
  • Pressure from straining to pass hard stools
  • Problems with your intestinal wall
  • Chronic constipation

Age and tobacco use may also play a role.