An intestinal pocket is a bulge in the mucous membrane of the colon. It is common to have bowel pockets and usually they are not noticed. An intestinal pocket can become inflamed, and you then get a stomach and fever. Inflammation often goes away without treatment, but if you become very ill, you may need to receive hospital care.

Symptoms of inflamed bowel pocket

You may have the following symptoms if you have an inflamed bowel pocket:

  • Abdominal pain, often at the bottom or left side.
  • Fever.

You may also have one or more of the following symptoms of inflamed bowel pocket:

  • You may feel bad.
  • You may feel bloated in the stomach.
  • You may become hard in the stomach or have diarrhea.
  • You may need to urinate more often than usual.

The inflammation can cause the intestinal pocket to burst and the inflammation can spread. You get a lot of pain in your stomach if that happens.

When and where should I seek care?

If you think you have an inflamed bowel pocket, contact a health center or an on-call clinic. If closed, you can wait until the on-call reception or medical center opens.

If it’s in a hurry

Contact a health care center or an on-call clinic immediately if you have a lot of stomachs upset and feel very ill.

If it is closed at the health center or on-call reception, seek care at an emergency room.

How can I prevent it?

There are some things you can do yourself to avoid getting inflamed bowel pockets:

  • Eat good food. Read about what good food is in the text How to eat healthily.
  • Avoid getting constipation. Read about what you can do yourself in the article Constipation.
  • Exercise or be physically active in everyday life. Read about what it means in the article Advice on Exercise.
  • Reduce or stop smoking if you smoke. Talk to your doctor if you need help stopping.

If you have had inflamed bowel pockets in the past, you can get the advice to eat high fiber foods, to reduce the risk of getting sick again. It is not proven that it helps against intestinal pockets, but fibers are good in several ways. You do not have to give up nuts and seeds, as recommended earlier.

Treatment for inflamed bowel pocket

An inflamed bowel pocket usually heals itself after a few days and does not need to be treated. It may help to eat liquid food for a few days, such as soup. You can also use non-prescription painkillers if you are in pain.

You may need hospital care if you have a lot of pain and fever. You can then get antibiotics if the inflammation does not get better. You can get antibiotics directly into the blood or as tablets. If you have a lot of pain, you can get pain-relieving drugs.

You may need surgery

You may need surgery if an inflamed intestinal pocket breaks and antibiotics do not help. You are anesthetized during the operation.

During the surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged bowel. The surgeon can then sew the intestinal parts together, or place a piece of the intestine through an opening on the stomach. It’s called getting a stoma. Often, the bowel can be sewn together after three to six months and you no longer need the stoma.

One method that can also be used is that the abdomen is rinsed clean by a puncture surgery. Then no ostomy is needed.

What treatment for inflamed bowel pocket you receive depends, among other things, on how inflamed the intestinal pocket is and what problems you have.

You may also need surgery if you often have inflamed bowel pockets that cause you trouble. Then you are operated on when the inflammation has healed. This allows the surgeon to sew the intestinal parts directly and you do not need an ostomy.

What are Inflammatory Bowel Pockets?

An intestinal pocket is a bulge of the lining of the intestinal wall.

The intestinal pocket is formed when a large number of intestinal contents accumulate in the intestine, which increases the pressure on the intestinal wall. When the pressure becomes high, the mucosa is eventually pushed out through the muscle layers of the intestinal wall and the mucosa is formed into small pockets on the outside of the intestine.

Intestinal pockets may be at the longest with the entire colon, but it is most common that they are in the last part of the large intestine.

It is very common to have intestinal pockets, and it becomes more common the older you get. Usually, intestinal pockets give no symptoms.

The inflammation is due to something getting stuck

The intestinal pocket and the tissue around the intestinal pocket can become inflamed if it contains intestinal contents in the pocket. The inflammation is due to the bacteria in the intestinal contents growing and damaging the intestinal wall.

The more intestinal pockets the intestine has, the greater the risk of being inflamed.

Intestinal pockets are also called verticle or diverticulosis. An inflamed bowel pocket is called diverticulitis.


Inflammation of the intestinal pocket can be severe. What can happen are the following:

  • Inflammation spreads to the peritoneum, which is part of the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is the tissue that exists between the skin and the organs of the stomach.
  • It is formed in the intestine and abdomen.
  • The intestinal pocket is bursting. It then becomes holes in the intestine and inflammation can spread.
  • A so-called fistula is formed between the intestine and other organs, although unusual. A fistula is a small duct. The fistula can be created between the intestine and the bladder, or between the intestine and the vagina. There may then be air and feces in the urine, or from the vagina.

If you have had many inflamed intestinal pockets, the intestinal wall can get scars and become stiff. It can cause intestinal obstruction.

Weakened immune systems increase the risk of complications

Inflammatory bowel pockets can also be serious if you have a disease that weakens the immune system, or if you use drugs that weaken the immune system.

The risk of complications also increases if you use certain medicines for a longer period, such as anti-inflammatory pain-relieving drugs. They are also called NSAIDs or cox inhibitors.

Treatment with cortisone increases the risk of an inflamed bowel pocket rupturing.

What is it?

It is not clear why intestinal pockets are formed, but the following, increase the risk:

  • Often having constipation.
  • To eat food with a little fiber.
  • To smoke.
  • Having overweight.

The risk of getting intestinal pockets also increases the older you get.


You may have blood and urine tests if your doctor suspects you have inflamed bowel pockets. It can sometimes be enough to diagnose.

You may be examined with ultrasound or computed tomography, if you have a lot of pain or if you have not had inflammatory bowel pockets before.

More examinations when you have recovered

You may undergo more examinations when the inflammation has healed if this is the first time you have inflamed bowel pockets. You are then examined either with computed tomography of the colon or with a  colonoscopy. You will receive a referral from your doctor to one of the examinations.

The studies are done to examine the colon, intestinal pockets and to exclude other diseases.

Influence and participate in your care

In order to be able to participate in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask to have the information printed to read it peacefully.

You may have the right to receive interpreting assistance. You may also have the right to receive interpreting assistance if you have a hearing impairment.

Muhammad Nadeem

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