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Do you Need a Colostomy Bag After Diverticulitis Surgery?

Every year around 3 million people are affected by diverticulitis. It is one of the common gastrointestinal disorders. Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches in the wall of the colon become inflamed. This condition requires surgical intervention. One of the biggest concerns of individuals with diverticulitis is, do they need a colostomy bag after diverticulitis surgery.

In this article, we will explore the factors that influence this decision and shed light on the options available.

What is diverticulitis?

Usually, in the lining of our digestive system especially the colon small bulging pockets are formed, these pockets are called Diverticula. The formation of diverticula is common, especially after the 40s and they barely cause any problems.

The problem arises when any of these pouches or diverticula becomes inflamed or infected, then this condition is known as diverticulitis, which is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits.

If it’s mild diverticulitis, it can be treated with rest, antibiotics, and by changing your daily diet. However, severe diverticulitis requires prompt attention and surgery.

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One of the most prominent signs of diverticulitis is the presence of persistent pain, typically lasting for multiple days, and usually arises in the lower left abdomen. This pain may also arise on the right side. Besides this one may also experience

nausea, vomiting, and fever accompanied by tenderness in the abdominal region, constipation, and sometimes diarrhea. If you experience any of these signs indicative of diverticulitis, it is advisable to promptly get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Read more: After reversal of colostomy what is the life expectancy

Causative agent:

Grandmothers of old times forbid to swallow seeds and nuts whole as they cause stomach pain. In actuality swallowing a whole seed or whole nut leads to the formation of diverticula. These diverticula are formed when pressure is exerted on some weaker spots of your colon, causing small pouches to stick out through the colon wall.

When these pouches tear, it leads to diverticulitis, causing inflammation, and sometimes, infection.

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Risk Factors:

Various factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing diverticulitis:

  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Diet High in Animal Fat and Low in Fiber
  • Certain Medications:

The use of certain medications is associated with an elevated risk of diverticulitis. These include steroids, opioids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.

Understanding these risk factors can be crucial in adopting preventive measures and making lifestyle choices that may help reduce the likelihood of developing diverticulitis.

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Your gastroenterologist might suggest various treatments for diverticulitis. Usually, they recommend increasing fiber and fluids in your diet before trying other methods. If there’s a tear in the bowel, antibiotics may be prescribed. In cases of repeated ruptures, perforation, or the need to drain a pustule, surgery might be recommended.

Diverticulitis surgery can be done either through small cuts using a special tube and camera (laparoscopic) or through a larger incision (open). The surgery typically involves removing a part of your colon, unless it’s just about draining a pustule. Depending on the extent of bowel removal, you might require a colostomy bag after the procedure. Your surgeon will discuss these details with you before the surgery.

Read More: Colostomy Healing Time

Types Of Diverticulitis Surgery:

When it comes to diverticulitis surgery, there are two options for the surgery.

  • One is bowel resection with primary anastomosis
  • Bowel resection with colostomy

Bowel Resection with Primary Anastomosis

This type of surgical procedure aims to save the organ. The surgeon will remove the infected part of the colon only. He would not attempt a colectomy which is the removal of the colon. Once he removes the infected part of the colon, the surgeon will join the healthy parts of your colon together which is called anastomosis. This procedure does not require a colostomy bag. Your normal bowel function would remain retained.

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Bowel Resection with Colostomy

When the colon has been damaged too much and it’s hard to save the colon, then surgeons will opt for this procedure. Here surgeons will remove the infected colon and then connect your bowel through an opening in your abdomen from the excretion of stool. Here colostomy bag is required. Usually temporary colostomy bag is used here.

Both types of surgeries can be performed either through open surgery or laparoscopic methods. In laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made, and the procedure is carried out using cameras and specialized tubes. On the other hand, open surgery involves a larger incision in your abdomen, allowing for a full view of your intestines during the operation. The choice between the two methods depends on various factors, and your surgeon will discuss the most suitable approach based on your circumstances.

Complications Associated With The Surgery:

Following is the list of possible complications associated with the diverticulitis surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • A leak in the colon
  • Injury to surrounding organs

Patient sometimes develops blood clots during the surgery. clot formation is really very dangerous it can travel to other areas and lead to serious complications. clot formation is common in people with cardiovascular problems.

Recovery Time:

After undergoing diverticulitis surgery, the initial recovery period is crucial for a quicker and more positive result. You will need to stay 2 to 7 days in hospital. The healthcare team will closely monitor your progress to ensure the proper functioning of your digestive tract.

You will be provided with a list of guidelines to follow once you reach home. This will include the following instructions:

  • Refrain from activities like exercise, heavy lifting, or sexual activity for at least two weeks.
  • Consume clear liquids and gradually introduce solid foods into your diet.
  • In case you have a colostomy bag, you will need to do proper care for your stoma for optimal healing.

Be aware that complications like infection may extend recovery time. So you have to take care of yourself in every possible aspect. The success of diverticulitis surgery hinges on factors such as colon health, age, overall well-being, and the surgeon’s expertise.

Do You Need A Colostomy Bag After Diverticulitis Surgery?

Once you have completely understood what diverticulitis is and everything about it. Therefore it is now easy to answer whether you will need a colostomy bag after diverticulitis surgery or not.

So the answer is, if your surgeon determines that a very small part of the colon is inflamed then he would not tell you to use a colostomy bag. However, if a large part of the colon is affected and inflamed then your surgeon will create a stoma on your abdomen and you will have to use a colostomy bag. This happens in the case of bowel resection with colostomy surgery.

Sometimes if the surgeon is unable to reattach the colon during surgery or when ongoing bleeding occurs, your surgeon may opt for stoma creation and you will need a permanent colostomy.


Diverticulitis is one of the prevalent gastro disorders that might require the use of a colostomy bag. The need for a colostomy bag depends on various factors. While some individuals may successfully undergo primary anastomosis and avoid the use of an external pouch, whereas, others may find a colostomy to be a temporary or permanent solution. Surgeons carefully assess the extent of colon damage to determine the most appropriate surgical approach, aiming for a successful recovery and a return to a healthy, normal life.


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