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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Facts About Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis

  • Diverticulosis is a condition that describes small pouches in the wall of the digestive tract that occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract bulges through weak spots in the outer layer. When these diverticula become inflamed, that is called diverticulitis.
  • One of the main causes of diverticulosis is a diet low in fiber.
  • Many people with diverticulosis have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they can include
  • Diverticulitis is more serious and symptoms can include
  • Diagnosis of diverticulosis/diverticulitis is made over several methods, including a physical exam which includes a digital rectal examination, blood tests, X-rays or CT scans of organs in the abdomen, a colonoscopy, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
  • Treatment for diverticulosis includes a diet high in fiber, fiber supplementation if needed, plenty of fluids, and exercise.
  • Diverticulitis also is treated with antibiotics and sometimes surgery.

What is diverticulitis?

Diverticula are small pouches in the wall of the digestive tract. They occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract bulges through weak spots in the outer layer. (This is similar to what happens when an inner tube bulges through a tire.)

  • Although these pouches can occur any place from the mouth to the anus, most occur in the large intestine (colon), especially the left (lower) portion of the colon just before the rectum.
  • These marble-sized pouches usually occur where the blood vessels run through the intestinal wall.
  • Individuals who have these pouches have diverticulosis.
  • Because this condition typically does not cause symptoms, most people are unaware they have diverticulosis.
Picture of diverticulitis, diverticulosis, diverticular disease
Picture of diverticulitis, diverticulosis, diverticular disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/8/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis):

Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Symptoms

The symptoms of diverticulitis (diverticulosis) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Surgery Recovery

Please describe your recovery after surgery for diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis - Experience

Please share your experience with diverticulosis (diverticulitis).

Diverticulitis - Diet

What foods have you found that aggravate diverticulitis? What foods have been helpful with easing diverticulitis symptoms?

Medical Exam for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The two conditions are different, but share similarities.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are two different conditions, but in each, pouches form along the large intestine. These pouches are unknown in origin, but doctors think a low-fiber diet may cause them.

Doctors look for some of these signs and symptoms when diagnosing diverticulitis:

  • The number times you defecate during the day and the quality of those stools
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever or chills.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Diverticulitis »

Diverticula are small mucosal herniations protruding through the intestinal layers and the smooth muscle along the natural openings created by the vasa recta or nutrient vessels in the wall of the colon.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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