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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Also called: Diverticular disease

Summary

Diverticula are small pouches that bulge outward through the colon, or large intestine. If you have these pouches, you have a condition called diverticulosis. It becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over age 60 have it. Doctors believe the main cause is a low-fiber diet.

Most people with diverticulosis don't have symptoms. Sometimes it causes mild cramps, bloating or constipation. Diverticulosis is often found through tests ordered for something else. For example, it is often found during a colonoscopy to screen for cancer. A high-fiber diet and mild pain reliever will often relieve symptoms.

If the pouches become inflamed or infected, you have a condition called diverticulitis. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, usually on the left side. You may also have fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation. In serious cases, diverticulitis can lead to bleeding, tears, or blockages. Your doctor will do a physical exam and imaging tests to diagnose it. Treatment may include antibiotics, pain relievers, and a liquid diet. A serious case may require a hospital stay or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American College of Gastroenterology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

Diagnosis and Tests

Treatments and Therapies

Living With

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in

Specifics

  • (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Broward Health Coral Springs, Coral Springs, FL, 4/31/2014

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American College of Gastroenterology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

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