Diverticulitis (di-vur-tik-u-LI-tis) occurs when one or more diverticula in your digestive tract become inflamed or infected. Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form anywhere in your digestive system, including your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. However, they're most commonly found in the large intestine.

Diverticula are common, especially after age 40. When you have diverticula, the condition is known as diverticulosis. You may never even know you have these pouches because they seldom cause any problems, such as diverticulitis.

Sometimes, however, diverticulitis occurs. This condition can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in your bowel habits. Mild cases of diverticulitis can be treated with rest, changes in your diet and antibiotics. But serious cases of diverticulitis may require surgery.

May. 21, 2011