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Diverticular Disease

Diverticular Disease: Introduction

Diverticular disease is a disease of the large intestine that is due to the formation of abnormal pouches in the colon. Theses pouches can become inflamed and cause abdominal pain and potentially serious complications, such as colon obstruction and peritonitis.

Diverticular disease includes two conditions: diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the development of the pouches in the large intestine, most often the lowest parts of the colon called the sigmoid colon. These saclike swellings, called diverticula, project outward in weak spots in the wall of the large intestine. Diverticulosis is a common condition in middle aged and older adults.

In about ten to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis, the diverticula become inflamed and cause further problems, such as infection. This condition is called diverticulitis.

It is not certain what causes diverticular disease, although it may be due to a low-fiber diet that is high in processed foods. Diverticular disease is most common in countries such as the U.S., where people often eat this type of diet. A low-fiber diet increased the risk of developing constipation. This leads to straining to have a bowel movement and increased pressure inside the colon. This pressure may result in the develoment of the hallmark pouches, or diverticula, in the large intestine.

These abnormal pouches create places in the colon where bacteria and stool can become trapped, leading to inflammation and the development of diverticulitis. This can result in infection and other complications.

The symptoms of diverticular disease vary depending on which condition a person has: diverticulosis or diverticulitis. Symptoms also vary between individuals but generally include abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Diverticular disease can also lead to serious complications, such as intestinal obstruction and peritonitis and additional symptoms. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of diverticular disease.

Making a diagnosis of diverticular disease begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms and the type of diet eaten, and completing a physical examination. The exam generally includes a digital rectal exam, which involves inserting a finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities, such as masses. A sample of stool is also tested for the presence of blood, which may not always be seen by the naked eye.

Imaging tests may include an abdominal ultrasound, which may reveal inflamed diverticula and/or CT scan to check for potential complications, such as infection and intestinal obstruction, and fistula.

It is possible that a diagnosis of diverticular disease can be missed or delayed because the disease may progresses gradually, and there may be no symptoms with diverticulosis. Some symptoms may also be assumed to be associated with other conditions, such as gas or overeating. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of diverticular disease.

Treatment of diverticular disease varies depending on which condition a person has: diverticulosis or diverticulitis. Treatment is tailored to the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, and an individual's medical history. Mild diverticular disease may respond well to conservative treatments. For more serious cases and when complications are involved more aggressive treatment, such as surgery may be needed. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of diverticular disease. ...more »

Diverticular Disease: Diverticular disease includes both "diverticulosis" which is just protrusion of the colon wall, and "diverticulitis" which is actual inflammation or infection of these protrusions. ...more »

Diverticular Disease: Symptoms

The symptoms of diverticular disease are due to the development of abnormal pouches in the colon called diverticula. Diverticula can become inflamed and infected with trapped stool and bacteria. The types and severity of symptoms of diverticular disease vary between individuals and the type of diverticular disease a person has: diverticulosis or diverticulitis.

...more symptoms »

Diverticular Disease: Treatments

Treatment of diverticular disease begins with prevention of the condition itself. Preventive measures can also help to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

Preventive measures include avoiding constipation by eating a high-fiber diet full of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. It also includes drinking plenty of water and participating in ...more treatments »

Diverticular Disease: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of diverticular disease can be delayed or missed because there may no symptoms of the earliest stage of the disease, called diverticulosis. If there are symptoms at this time, they may be mild and ambiguous. Symptoms may include abdominal cramping and bloating, and may be easily attributed to other conditions, such as constipation, aging, and overeating. These symptoms ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Diverticular Disease

Treatments for Diverticular Disease

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular Disease: Related Patient Stories

Diverticular Disease: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Diverticular Disease.

Alternative Treatments for Diverticular Disease

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Diverticular Disease may include:

Diagnostic Tests for Diverticular Disease

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Diverticular Disease: Complications

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Causes of Diverticular Disease

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Disease Topics Related To Diverticular Disease

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Diverticular Disease:

  • Lower gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Lower GI bleeding
  • Meckel iliac diverticulum
  • Congenital diverticula
  • Peridiverticular inflammation
  • more related diseases...»

Diverticular Disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Diverticular Disease

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are more »

Diverticular Disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Diverticular Disease

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Diverticular Disease, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Diverticular Disease: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Diverticular Disease

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Diverticular Disease

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Diverticular Disease: Animations

Prognosis for Diverticular Disease

Prognosis for Diverticular Disease: Eating a high-fiber diet, getting plenty of fluid, and exercising regularly may help prevent diverticulosis.

Research about Diverticular Disease

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Clinical Trials for Diverticular Disease

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Diverticular Disease include:

Statistics for Diverticular Disease

Diverticular Disease: Broader Related Topics

Diverticular Disease Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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Article Excerpts about Diverticular Disease

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Pouches (plural) are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. (Source: excerpt from Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis: NIDDK)

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis: NIDDK (Excerpt)

When the pouches become infected or inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. This happens in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis. (Source: excerpt from Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis: NIDDK)

Definitions of Diverticular Disease:

A pathological condition characterized by the presence of a number of COLONIC DIVERTICULA in the COLON. Its pathogenesis is multifactorial, including colon aging, motor dysfunction, increases in intraluminal pressure, and lack of dietary fibers. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of a diverticulum in the digestive tract (especially the colon); characterized by painful abdominal cramping and fever and constipation - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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