(Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis facts
- What is diverticulosis?
- What is diverticulitis?
- What are diverticulitis symptoms?
- What causes diverticula and how do diverticula form?
- What are the more serious complications of diverticulitis?
- How are the diagnosis of diverticulitis and diverticulosis made?
- What is the treatment for diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
- Medical treatment of diverticulitis and diverticulosis
- Surgical treatment for diverticulitis
- What can be done to prevent diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
- Pictures of Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Causes
- Patient Comments: Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Attack Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Diverticulitis - Treatment
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis facts
- Most patients with diverticulosis (diverticular disease) have few or no symptoms.
- Abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea, can occur with diverticulosis.
- Diverticulosis can be diagnosed with barium X-rays or with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
- Treatment of diverticulosis can include high fiber diet, and anti-spasmodic drugs.
- When diverticulosis is associated with inflammation and infection the condition is called diverticulitis. Together, diverticulosis and its complications, including diverticulitis, sometimes are referred to as diverticular disease.
- Complications of diverticulosis and diverticulitis include rectal bleeding, abdominal infections, and colon obstruction.
What is diverticulosis?
The colon (large intestine) is a long tube-like structure that stores and then eliminates waste material left over after digestion of food in the small intestine takes place. Pressure within the colon causes bulging pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colonic walls as a person ages. A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is called a diverticulum. More than one bulging sac is referred to in the plural as diverticula. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left colon, referred to as the sigmoid colon, in Western countries. In Asia, the diverticula occur mostly on the right side of the colon. The condition of having these diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis.
Diverticula are common in the Western world but are rare in areas such as Asia and Africa. Diverticula increase with age. They are uncommon before the age of 40, and are seen in more than 40% of people over the age of 60 years in the U.S. A person with diverticulosis usuallY has few or no symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with diverticulosis are abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. In some of these patients the symptoms may be due to the concomitant presence of irritable bowel syndrome or abnormalities in the function of the muscles of the sigmoid colon; simple diverticula should cause no symptoms. Occasionally, bleeding originates from a diverticulum, and it is referred to as diverticular bleeding.
What is diverticulitis?
When a diverticulum ruptures and infection sets in around the diverticulum, the condition is called diverticulitis. An individual suffering from diverticulitis often has abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, colonic obstruction and fever.
Viewers share their comments
Get the latest treatment options.