Frequently Asked Questions about Diverticular Disease

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Diverticular disease consists of diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Individuals who have diverticulosis have small pouches in their colons which protrude outward through weak spots. When theses pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is referred to as diverticulitis. Approximately 50% of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 80 have diverticulosis. About 10% to 25% of individuals who have diverticulosis end up having inflamed or infected pouches of diverticulitis.

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What is the cause of diverticular disease?

It’s believed, but not proven, that a diet consisting of low-fiber is the primary cause of diverticular disease.

What are the symptoms of diverticulosis and diverticulitis?

The majority of people with diverticulosis don’t experience any symptoms. However, when symptoms occur, they may include mild cramping and bloating as well as constipation. On the other hand, the major symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain, particularly on the left side of the lower abdomen. If an infection is present, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and cramping may occur.

Are there any complications of diverticulitis?

Bleeding, infections, abscess, blockages, peritonitis, fistula, and perforations are all complications of diverticulitis. These complications must be treated. Treatment may be by hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics, or through surgery by a Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Culver City or Holywood proctology specialist in order to prevent more serious illness.

How is diverticular disease diagnosed?

Because the majority of individuals do not experience symptoms of diverticulosis, a doctor often finds evidence of a disease while testing or screening for another condition. For instance, during colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, diverticular disease may be discovered.

A diet high in fiber may help alleviate the symptoms of diverticulosis.

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