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Is Diverticulitis Contagious?

Reviewed on 12/11/2020

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is not contagious. Diverticulitis is the term for inflammation of diverticula, out-pouchings in the walls of the digestive tract that can become impacted.
Diverticulitis is not contagious. Diverticulitis is the term for inflammation of diverticula, out-pouchings in the walls of the digestive tract that can become impacted.

Diverticulitis is a form of diverticular disease, which occurs when small pouches form in the large intestinal (colonic) wall called diverticula. These diverticula push through weak spots in the colon’s outer muscle layers. Inflammation of the diverticula is called diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the presence of diverticula without inflammation.

What are Symptoms of Diverticulitis?

Symptoms of diverticulitis may include:

What Causes Diverticulitis?

A high-fat and low-fiber diet is considered a contributing factor for developing diverticulitis in Western countries.

Other potential causes of diverticulitis include: 

Certain foods that are low in fiber or high in sugar may aggravate or trigger diverticulitis in some people, such as:

  • Processed meats
  • Red meats
  • Fried foods
  • Full fat dairy products

Is Diverticulitis Contagious?

Diverticulitis is not contagious. It is not transmitted from person-to-person, through respiratory droplets or bodily fluids, or by touching contaminated surfaces. 

Diverticulosis, which can lead to diverticulitis, occurs commonly when people age.

How is Diverticulitis Diagnosed?

Diverticulitis is diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. 

Laboratory tests used to help diagnose diverticulitis include: 

Imaging tests used to help diagnose diverticulitis include:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen 
  • Lower GI series (barium contrast enema)
  • Abdominal X-rays
  • Colonoscopy

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What is the Treatment for Diverticulitis?

Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity, any complications that exist, and a patient’s other medical conditions.

Treatment for mild diverticulitis includes:

In severe cases hospitalization may be needed. If hospitalized, treatment for severe diverticulitis may include:

  • Clear liquid diet; progress to a soft diet as tolerated
  • Intravenous (IV) or oral antibiotics
    • Beta-lactamase-inhibiting antibiotics such as piperacillin/tazobactam (Tazocin) and ticarcillin/clavulanic acid (Timentin)
    • Carbapenems such as ertapenem (Invanz
  • Abscesses less than 3 cm: Typically resolved with antibiotics 
  • Abscesses greater than 4 cm: Drain percutaneously
  • Pain management 
    • Morphine is preferred, though it may affect bowel tone and sphincters
    • Acetaminophen and antispasmodics such as dicyclomine are first-line medications used to manage pain and cramping in mild to moderate disease
  • Elective surgical resection

How do you Prevent Diverticulitis?

The primary way to prevent diverticulitis is with proper diet and exercise. Diverticular disease can be due to a low fiber diet, so consumption of a high fiber diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and other high fiber foods is the mainstay of prevention.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2020
References
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/173388-overview

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diverticulosis-diverticulitis
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