Diverticular Disease

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are disorders of the colon sometimes referred to as ‘diverticular disease’. The disease occurs in the colon, where pouches can form and bulge out from the colon walls. This condition – diverticulosis – does not cause symptoms on its own. Pouches that develop blockages can become irritated, infected and inflamed – a condition known as diverticulitis.

Did you know…

many people live with diverticulosis for a long time before receiving a diagnosis? This is because diverticulosis is generally asymptomatic. At most, people with this condition may experience some mild bloating, cramps and blood in the stool. Unless they develop diverticulitis, many people are not diagnosed with diverticular disease until they have a routine colonoscopy or other diagnostic test ordered for unrelated reasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

A person experiencing an acute diverticulitis attack may develop a fever and experience severe abdominal cramping. It is often accompanied by vomiting, nausea and constipation. It is important to see a doctor if these symptoms occur, as treatment may be necessary.

Who is at risk for developing diverticular disease?

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis typically occurs in adults – particularly those over age 40. At that age, the risk gradually increases, with an estimated 50 percent of people over age 60. Only a small percentage of people with diverticulosis develops a problem with their disease.

Will I need surgery to treat my diverticulosis or diverticulitis?

We always suggest conservative treatments, such as increased fiber and water consumption, to prevent complications. Some people will require medical interventions. Antibiotics and a short-term liquid diet can help treat a diverticulitis attack, however, some individuals with recurring attacks will require colon surgery to remove an area of diverticular disease of the colon prone to infections.

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