Out-pouchings or bulges in the bowel wall occur over time, usually the result of a low fibre diet. This is 'diverticulosis' and is present in most people in the Western world and usually asymptomatic. When you have symptoms related to these out-pouchings, this is known as diverticular disease. The most common symptom is pain as a result of blockage and infection of one of the out-pouchings (diverticulitis) and this may come on suddenly. Other symptoms might be bleeding, bowel blockage or a fistula (communication between the affected bowel and, usually, the bladder).
What is needed for treatment depends on your particular situation. For diverticulitis, most times, antibiotics and bowel rest is appropriate. Surgery is not often needed although full assessment, adequate treatment and follow-up is essential. If you are having frequent attacks of diverticulitis or a more serious complication, surgery is usually recommended.