Diverticulitis - Treatment

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Medical treatment of diverticulitis and diverticulosis

Most patients with diverticulosis have minimal or no symptoms, and do not require any specific treatment. A normal fiber diet is advisable to prevent constipation and perhaps prevent the formation of more diverticula.

Patients with mild symptoms of abdominal pain due to muscular spasm in the area of the diverticula may benefit from anti-spasmodic drugs such as:

  • chlordiazepoxide (Librax),
  • dicyclomine (Bentyl),
  • atropine, scopolamine, phenobarbital (Donnatal), and
  • hyoscyamine (Levsin).

When diverticulitis occurs, antibiotics usually are needed. Oral antibiotics are sufficient when symptoms are mild. Some examples of commonly prescribed antibiotics include:

  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro),
  • metronidazole (Flagyl),
  • cephalexin (Keflex), and
  • doxycycline (Vibramycin).

Liquid or low fiber foods are advised during acute attacks of diverticulitis. This is done to reduce the amount of material that passes through the colon, which at least theoretically, may aggravate the diverticulitis. In severe diverticulitis with high fever and pain, patients are hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics. Surgery is needed for patients with persistent bowel obstruction or abscess not responding to antibiotics.

Return to Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Diane, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I"ve had many bouts of diverticulitis. They used to only occur once every few years, but started occurring with increasing frequency (every few weeks), sometimes requiring antibiotics. I had a colonoscopy and the surgeon said if I recall correctly "In the old days we would operate if you had multiple flare ups requiring hospitalization or antibiotics, but we don"t do that so readily, because the risks of operating outweigh the benefits, or risks of doing nothing." She"s probably right, but I am left with having to endure flare up after flare up, sleepless, painful nights, and finally, if I can"t take it anymore, a long wait in emergency room, for antibiotics and a shot for pain, which generally wears off by the time I get home, but it is better than nothing. I can"t help but feel that my doctors are not taking this problem and the amount of pain it causes seriously, unless there really is no solution and nothing they can do about it. I understand doctors' reluctance to prescribe narcotics, is there no antispasmodic or anti-inflammatory or anything that might make this more livable!

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Comment from: crampy no more, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I had diverticulitis a year ago. I was treated with oral Cipro and Flagyl which was very hard to keep down on a clear liquid diet when you"re already nauseated. A little tip. Take a saltine or 2 with the medicines. I haven"t had any more problems. I eat whatever I want except corn, especially popcorn. I had eaten a lot if it and those husks are hard and jagged and I"m quite sure they were the cause. My suggestion is to definitely take any form of whole corn or popcorn from your diet.

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