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Meckel's Diverticulum: Care Instructions

Lower digestive system


A Meckel's diverticulum is a small pouch on the wall of the small intestine. It is a part of the fetal digestive system. Most often it's absorbed by your body before you are born.

But some people still have this small pouch as they grow older. Very few people ever have symptoms or problems because of it. If you have this pouch but you have no symptoms, your doctor will watch for any problems. If it starts to cause symptoms, such as belly pain or blood in your stools, you may need surgery.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Follow instructions from your doctor on what symptoms to watch for, such as belly pain and cramping and nausea. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor right away. Do not eat or drink anything until your doctor says it's okay.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • Your stools are maroon or very bloody.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • Your stools are black and look like tar, or they have streaks of blood.
  • You are vomiting.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.