Diverticula are bulging sacs that can appear in the lining of your large intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when these sacs get acutely infected or inflamed. Although diverticula are most common in the large intestine (colon), they can develop anywhere in your digestive tract. Pain in the lower left side of your abdomen may indicate diverticulitis, especially when it’s accompanied by rectal bleeding. Diverticula usually develop when naturally weak places in your colon give way under pressure.
This causes marble-sized pouches to protrude through the colon wall. Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula tear, resulting in inflammation or infection or both. Many factors that increase the risk of diverticulitis include aging, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, diet high in animal fat and low in fiber and certain medications like steroids, opiates and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. The most common and severe sign of diverticulitis is sudden pain on the lower left side of the abdomen.
Other associated symptoms include abdominal pain and tenderness, usually on the lower left side, nausea, vomiting, constipation, fever, gas or bloating, diarrhea, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding that’s usually bright red. Based on the severity of the disease treatment has been suggested. When the symptoms are mild antibiotics to treat infection, a liquid diet for a few days while the bowel heals and an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen is recommended.
If the attack is severe intravenous antibiotics and insertion of a tube to drain an abscess is suggested. Surgical removal of diseased segments of your intestine and then reconnects the healthy segments (anastomosis).