It's not all that uncommon to develop small bulging pouches in your digestive system as you age. If these hernia-like pouches or diverticula become inflamed in the intestinal track, you have diverticulitis.
"The pain, the discomfort is quite significant to where they know there's something significant going on," said Dr. Mark Larson, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.
Treating diverticulitis depends on the severity.
"About one-third will recover from this episode with conservative therapy - that is fluids, antibiotics and avoiding food for a few days and the inflammation will start to subside," Dr. Larson said.
Moderate to severe cases may require intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization. Sometimes surgery to remove the portion of the diseased colon is needed, especially if this is the second time.
There are ways to reduce your risk of diverticulitis:
- Eat high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Respond to bowel urges
- Exercise regularly
More Info: Mayo Clinic on Diverticulitis