You were in the hospital because you have diverticulitis, infection of an abnormal pouch (called a diverticulum) in your intestinal wall.
You may have had a CT scan or other tests that helped your doctor check your colon. You likely received fluids and drugs that fight infections through an intravenous (IV) tube in your vein. You were probably on a special diet to help your colon rest and heal.
If your diverticulitis was very bad, or a repeat of past swelling, you may need surgery.
What to Expect at Home
Your pain and other symptoms should go away after a few days of treatment. If they do not get better, or if they get worse, you will need to call the doctor.
Once these pouches have formed, you have them for life. If you make a few simple changes in your lifestyle, you may not have diverticulitis again.
Your doctor may have given you antibiotics to treat any infection. Take them as your doctor told you to. Make sure you finish the whole prescription. Call your doctor or nurse if you have any side effects.
Do NOT put off having a bowel movement. This can lead to a firmer stool, which will make you use more force to pass it.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Exercise regularly.
When you first go home or after an attack, your doctor may ask you to drink liquids only at first, then slowly increase your diet. At first, you may need to avoid whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. This will help your colon rest.
After you are better, your doctor will suggest that you add more fiber to your diet and avoid certain foods. Eating more fiber may help prevent future attacks. If you have bloating or gas, reduce the amount of fiber you eat for a few days.
Good sources of fiber are:
Fruits, such as tangerines, prunes, apples, bananas, peaches, and pears
Tender cooked vegetables, such as asparagus, beets, mushrooms, turnips, pumpkin, broccoli, artichokes, lima beans, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes
Lettuce and peeled potatoes
High-fiber cereals (such as shredded wheat) and muffins
Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, farina, and cream of wheat
Sudden belly or back pain, or pain that gets worse or is very severe
Fox JM, Stollman NH. Diverticular disease of the colon. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 117.
Prather C. Inflammatory and anatomic diseases of the intestine, peritoneum, mesentery, and omentum. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 145.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.