Complications of diverticulitis may include:

  • Peritonitis, which can occur if the infected or inflamed pouch ruptures, spilling intestinal contents into your abdominal cavity. This can cause an inflammation of the lining of your abdominal cavity (peritoneum). Peritonitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • A blockage in your colon or small intestine caused by scarring.
  • An abscess, which occurs when pus collects in the pouch.
  • A fistula, which is an abnormal passageway that occurs between different parts of your intestine, between your intestine and your bladder or vagina, or between your intestine and abdominal wall.

Although there doesn't appear to be a direct link between diverticular disease and colon or rectal cancer, diverticular disease may make cancer more difficult to diagnose. And rarely, what appears to be diverticulitis may be colon cancer. Because of this, your doctor will likely recommend a colonoscopy after you've recovered from a bout of diverticulitis. Your doctor may also recommend that you have more-frequent cancer-screening tests. A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to examine your entire colon and rectum for abnormalities using a long, flexible tube with a tiny video camera at the tip (colonoscope).

May. 21, 2011