Diverticulosis

Diverticular Disease

Diverticular disease is an infection in the tiny pouches that some people get in their colon. The pouches are called diverticula.

These pouches bulge out through weak spots in your colon. The pouches can become inflamed (red, swollen) or infected.

Diverticular disease includes these 2 health problems:

  • Diverticulosis. When you have tiny pouches, or diverticula, in your colon.
  • Diverticulitis. When the pouches in your colon get infected.

About half of all Americans over age 60 will have diverticulosis. Some people with diverticulosis also get diverticulitis.

Diverticular disease is often seen in developed countries. It is very common in the United States, England, and Australia. People in these countries eat less fiber.

Diverticular disease is rare in countries such as Asia and Africa. People in these countries eat more fiber and more vegetables.


Symptoms

Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:

  • Diverticulosis. You can have diverticulosis and not have any pain or symptoms. But symptoms may include mild cramps, swelling or bloating, and constipation. These symptoms can also be caused by irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, or other health problems. These symptoms don’t always mean that you have diverticulosis.
  • Diverticulitis. The most common symptom of diverticulitis is belly or abdominal pain. The most common sign that you have it is feeling sore or sensitive on the left side of your lower belly. If infection is the cause, then you may have fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation.
  • Diverticular colitis. This is when the colon gets inflamed (colitis) as a result of the diverticular disease. This is less common than diverticulitis.

The symptoms of diverticular disease may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.


When to Call a Doctor

If your symptoms get worse or come back after treatment, call your healthcare provider. You should also call if you notice bleeding.