A Picture Guide to Diverticulitis

A diverticulum is a small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall. More than one bulging sac is referred to as diverticula.
When a diverticulum ruptures and becomes infected, the condition is referred to as diverticulitis.
The condition of having diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis.
Diverticular disease is common in the Western world but extremely rare in other areas.
Diverticular disease risk increases with age.
The muscular wall of the colon grows thicker with age, and this may reflect the increasing pressures required by the colon to eliminate feces.
Diverticular disease in developed countries is blamed largely on a low fiber diet.
A diet high in fiber helps prevent constipation and thus decrease the risk for diverticular disease.
Most patients with diverticular disease have few or no symptoms.
Some patients with diverticular disease experience more serious symptoms and complications.
Bleeding can occur with diverticulosis or diverticulitis, which may be intermittent or continuous.
Some symptoms are more serious and the patient should be seen by a doctor.
Some symptoms suggest a complication, and a trip to the emergency department may be warranted.
Once suspected, the diagnosis of diverticular disease can be confirmed by a variety of tests.
Many patients do not require any special treatment as they have minimal or no symptoms of diverticular disease.
Some patients with diverticular disease experience abdominal pain due to muscular spasm.
Antibiotics are usually needed when diverticulitis occurs.
When diverticulitis does not respond to medical treatment, surgical intervention is necessary.
Eating a high-fiber diet is the mainstay of diverticular disease prevention.

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Reviewed by John A. Daller, MD on Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) Symptoms, Diet, Treatment

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