In many cases, diverticular disease presents with no symptoms and thus no treatment is required, however it is ideal that the individual adopt an optimal diet to ensure no symptoms do occur.In the event that symptoms appear, the main form of treatment of diverticulosis is through the adoption of an optimal diet (addressed in chapters 5 and six).
In some cases medications are required. For an individual who develops diverticulitis (the active phase of the disease) treatment is more intense. Should symptoms or complications of diverticulitis become severe enough, an individual may often require hospitalisation. In hospital they are treated with changes to diet and appropriate antibiotics. Surgery is the final option, and is only implemented for individuals who suffer from recurring diverticulitis. Surgery generally involves the removal of certain sections of the bowel and consequent resection and is generally suggested if a patient has two or more occurrences of diverticulitis or if a large perforation or peritonitis is present.
Surgery is generally performed via two operations. The first operation aims to remove the diseased section of the colon and clean the abdominal cavity. During this operation, it is not appropriate to rejoin the colon due to the high risk of the patient developing infection or a bowel obstruction. Instead surgeons divert the path of the faecal matter via a colostomy. A colostomy involves the attachment of the colon to the skin in which faeces are passed through a hole into a bag stored externally.
After a period of time has elapsed and the infection in the colon has been successfully treated and subsided, the bowel is reattached, thus enabling normal bowel functions and the patient to cease the use of the colostomy bag. The hole that was previously made in the skin is surgically closed.