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Diverticular Disease: Severe Bleeding

Topic Overview

Severe bleeding (diverticular hemorrhage) is a separate problem from diverticulitis. Severe bleeding occurs in less than 5 out of 100 people who have bleeding from diverticula in the colon. Bleeding stops on its own in about 75 out of 100 cases.1 But sometimes bleeding may be severe enough that a blood transfusion is needed.

Imaging tests including angiography (also known as arteriography) may be used to find the location of persistent bleeding. Angiography also can be used to deliver medicines to the site to help stop the bleeding. Doctors also may use colonoscopy to apply medicines or instruments to try to stop bleeding.

If these methods do not work, surgery may be needed to stop the bleeding and to prevent repeated problems with bleeding.

References

Citations

  1. Davis BR, Matthews JB (2006). Diverticular disease of the colon. In M Wolfe et al., eds., Therapy of Digestive Disorders, 2nd ed., pp. 855–859. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised October 8, 2012

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