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Emergency Department Discharge Instructions

Diverticulitis

Emergency Care Discharge Instructions

Instruction summary

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs in a section of the intestines called the “large bowel.” As we get older, it is common to form small outpouchings in the wall of the large bowel (called “diverticulosis”). Sometimes, these outpouchings can become inflamed and infected with bacteria. This is called diverticulitis (the “-itis” part means inflamed).

Diverticulitis is treated with antibiotics. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, fill the prescription as soon as you can. Make sure you take your antibiotics as directed, the whole course (don’t stop early). If you have been prescribed metronidazole (which is the same thing as Flagyl), DO NOT DRINK ANY ALCOHOL WHEN ON THIS MEDICATION. You may feel extremely sick with even a sip of alcohol. Try to take the prescription to your usual pharmacy, to discuss whether there could be any interactions with other medications that you are taking.

This is a time where you want to give your intestines some rest. This means you should eat things that are easy to digest, such as refined carbohydrates: pastas (not whole wheat), white bread, bagels, white rice, etc.

Avoid bran, whole wheat, raw vegetables, and any fruit with skin or seeds. Once the infection has resolved, then you can return back to a healthy diet that includes high fiber (which will help to prevent future attacks).

Follow up with your family doctor within a week or so.

Reasons to return to the ER
  1. Fever (≥38.0 °C or 100.4 °F) or pain persisting more than two days after starting antibiotics
  2. Worsening pain
  3. Vomiting