Diverticulitis of the colon is a condition in which diverticula, sac-like protrusions in the colon, become inflamed. The etiology is not clearly understood, but it is thought that obesity, low fiber diet, and advanced age are predisposing factors.
Diverticulitis of the colon is a condition that arises from inflammation of diverticula, which are outpouchings of mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses in the intestinal wall. These are symptomatic in only a minority of patients, and an even smaller minority develop diverticulitis  . The occurrence of diverticula, and therefore diverticulitis, is thought to be related to lifestyle .
Clinical features and severity vary, and are dictated by the extent and location of the inflammation. Left lower quadrant pain and other gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting, change in bowel habits, a loss of appetite, and fever may occur. Inflammation may progress to a localized abscess. The symptoms of colonic diverticulitis may be mistaken for other conditions that present similarly, including acute appendicitis, and certain renal and gynecological conditions.
Occasionally, urinary complaints such as dysuria and frequency may be reported. Macroperforations of the diverticula may occur, leading to peritonitis and possibly abscess formation in the thigh in cases of retroperitoneal perforations. An additional complication of diverticulitis of the colon is fistula formation with the bladder or vagina. Therefore these patients will present with additional signs of fistulae, such as fecaluria and a foul smelling vaginal discharge.
Some patients may experience a sub-acute disease course, with recurrent episodes of abdominal pain and decreased quality of life. In contrast, minimal clinical signs are present in those exposed to exogenous steroids, as well as in older patients.
The workup for diverticulitis includes: