OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to establish whether surgical or conservative treatment leads to a higher quality of life (QoL) in patients with recurring diverticulitis and/or ongoing complaints. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The 6 months' results of the DIRECT trial, a randomized trial comparing elective sigmoidectomy with conservative management in patients with recurring diverticulitis (>2 episodes within 2 years) and/or ongoing complaints (>3 months) after an episode of diverticulitis, demonstrated a significantly higher QoL after elective sigmoidectomy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate QoL at 5-year follow-up. METHODS: From January 2010 to June 2014, 109 patients were randomized to either elective sigmoidectomy (N = 53) or conservative management (N = 56). In the present study, the primary outcome was QoL measured by the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI) at 5-year follow-up. Secondary outcome measures were SF-36 score, Visual Analogue Score (VAS) pain score, EuroQol-5D-3L (EQ-5D-3L) score, morbidity, mortality, perioperative complications, and long-term operative outcome. RESULTS: At 5-year follow-up, mean GIQLI score was significantly higher in the operative group [118.2 (SD 21.0)] than the conservative group [108.5 (SD 20.0)] with a mean difference of 9.7 (95% confidence interval 1.7-17.7). All secondary QoL outcome measures showed significantly better results in the operative group, with a higher SF-36 physical (P = 0.030) and mental score (P = 0.010), higher EQ5D score (P = 0.016), and a lower VAS pain score (P = 0.011). Twenty-six (46%) patients in the conservative group ultimately required surgery due to severe ongoing complaints. Of the operatively treated patients, 8 (11%) patients had anastomotic leakage and reinterventions were required in 11 (15%) patients. CONCLUSION: Consistent with the short-term results of the DIRECT trial, elective sigmoidectomy resulted in a significantly increased QoL at 5-year follow-up compared with conservative management in patients with recurring diverticulitis and/or ongoing complaints. Surgeons should counsel these patients for elective sigmoidectomy weighing superior QoL, less pain, and lower risk of new recurrences against the complication risk of surgery.