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: Zephygal, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I have had several bouts of diverticulitis and have not had a doctor tell me to go on to a liquid diet though I did have treatment with antibiotics. I have found that buying Benefiber has proved helpful in avoiding flare ups for lengthy periods. I found that since it's tasteless I can add it to everything, soup, sauces, yogurt, etc., and increase fiber in that way since over processed foods are difficult to increase fiber content. I've spent hours in the bread and cereal aisles to try and find things with the absolute highest fiber to add to my diet. People that ate at my house had a high fiber diet and didn't even know it.

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Comment from: Milly29, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I am 29 years old and was diagnosed with diverticulitis when I was 25. I have had many attacks and been in the hospital on antibiotics several times. The last time I was in the hospital was March 26, 2015 the day I had surgery for a colon resection. My doctors advised that I remain on a high fiber diet at 35 grams of fiber a day. I was also informed that I could now eat whatever I wanted including nuts, corn, seeds and all the other good stuff they said were the major cause of attacks and flare ups. Now 5 months later, I am having a flare up. I am not trying to go back to the hospital and relive those same things again. I am trying a liquid diet for now, and letting go of all the nuts! Supposedly diverticulitis only occurs if you are over 40, not so much in this case.

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