Diverticulitis Pain: Causes and How to Get Relief From It?

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi   by Tatheer Zehra Zaidi, M. Pharma    Last updated on April 22, 2021,

diverticulitis pain

Understanding diverticulosis, diverticulitis, diverticular abscess

Diverticulitis is inflammation or infection of small pouches along the walls of intestines. These pouches are called diverticula.

The formation of these pouches is known as diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is a more serious condition characterized by inflammation of infection of the pouches. Diverticulitis may involve a small abscess in the pouches called diverticular abscess or a massive infection or even perforation inside the bowel. This can cause severe pain, what doctors call as diverticulitis pain.

Read more about: An Overview of Diverticulitis

Symptoms of diverticulosis and diverticulitis

If you have diverticulosis, most often you may not even know about it because diverticula are generally painless and cause no or few mild symptoms. If diverticula cause symptoms, they may include:

  • Pain: Cramping pain on the left side of your abdomen
  • Diverticular bleeding: Blood in the stool that is bright red in color may be indicative of diverticular bleeding.

If you develop diverticulitis, the symptoms are more noticeable, which may include, such as:

  • Severe abdominal diverticulitis pain
  • Fever
  • Other symptoms of diverticulosis
  • Severe infection attacks
  • Inflammation
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis low back pain
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

More: Diagnosis of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis symptoms back pain

Diverticulitis can also cause back pain. There are many possible reasons of lower back pain. Your doctor will help diagnose whether the back pain is a symptom of diverticulitis. Sometimes, the pain can even spread to your scrotum, hips, buttocks, thighs, legs, shoulders, and neck.

Diverticulitis more commonly causes back pain among women and older people. If someone gets diverticulitis back pain, it means, it is much more dangerous and harder to treat also.

Causes of diverticulitis pain

When one or more of the pouches in the wall of the intestine become inflamed or infected, the condition can cause severe diverticulitis pain. The pain may remain constant and persist for several days. Diverticulitis pain is usually felt in the lower left side of the abdomen, but may occur on the right side too, particularly in people of Asian descent.

Diverticula (puches in the abdominal wall) generally develop when naturally weak regions in the colon are not able to handle the pressure. This causes small-sized pouches to protrude through the colon wall causing diverticulitis pain.

What is diverticulitis pain like?

Symptoms of diverticulitis including diverticulitis pain may last from a few hours to several days. The pain occurs in the abdomen, usually in the lower left side of the abdomen, but may occur on the right side also. The pain is sometimes worse with movement. You may also experience fever, chills, bloating, and abdominal swelling, along with the diverticulitis pain.

Can diverticulitis pain go away on its own?

A mild case of diverticulitis problem may go away on its own without any treatment. You may though need a few painkillers if the pain is severe. If treatment is necessary, you doctor can prescribe antibiotics and a liquid or low-fiber diet to resolve the symptoms.

Diverticular bleeding

Diverticulitis may cause complications if not treated properly. These complications occur in about 20% of people who have diverticulosis. One of these complications is diverticular bleeding or rectal bleeding.

Diverticular bleeding occurs when there is chronic injury to the small blood vessels near to the diverticula inside the abdominal wall.

If you notice bleeding from the rectum, contact the doctor immediately. He or she may order tests for diagnosis of the cause of bleeding. These tests may include X-rays, CT scanning, ultrasound testing, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and certain blood tests. If you experience heavy rectal bleeding, your doctor may perform angiography to locate the source of diverticular bleeding.

Diverticular abscess

Many people with acute diverticulitis develop complications, such as a diverticular abscess. A diverticular abscess occurs when pus collects in the pouch.

The initial symptoms of diverticular abscess may feel like the flu. Symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation, lack of appetite, fever, and chills. Abscesses can develop due to other reasons too. But, if you have severe pain in the lower abdomen, it may be a diverticular abscess and not the flu. Treatment is necessary in this situation. If they are left unchecked and untreated, diverticular abscess can lead to serious digestive problems and even death.

How to get relief from diverticular pain? What can I do to ease diverticulitis pain?

Doctors recommend a combination of physical activity and high-fiber diets to help prevent diverticular disease. Running helps relieve diverticulitis symptoms and reduce the flare-ups. Even moderate intensity exercise can help regulate bowel functions, reduces stress and reduce the discomfort caused by diverticulitis pain and other symptoms.

  • To reduce abdominal pain caused by mild diverticulitis, you can:
  • Apply a heating pad to the abdomen to relieve cramps and pain
  • Use a nonprescription pain medicine such as acetaminophen
  • Try relaxation techniques such as slow and deep breathing to help reduce pain and discomfort
  • If you have diverticulosis, eat a high-fiber diet to make sure the bowels move regularly
  • Try bed rest
  • Use stool softeners
  • Make diet changes
  • Take antibiotics

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi is a clinical pharmacist and pharmacologist with a master’s degree in pharmacy practice. She aims to deliver a positive contribution in the field of healthcare and research. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jamia Hamdard New Delhi and then joined Spirant Communication Private LTD as a Medical content writer.


Currently she is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer. Tatheer’s areas of interest include clinical research, clinical trial disclosure, and pharmacovigilance.

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