Diverticulosis is a condition that affects the colon, causing tiny bulges or pockets in the lining (diverticula) of the bowel. These pouches most often appear in the sigmoid colon, the lower section of your large intestine.
Diverticulosis is common, and your risk of developing the condition increases as you age. Researchers are still investigating what causes someone to develop the tiny pouches in the colon. Still, they theorize it may develop because of a lack of fiber in the diet, causing a buildup of waste in the colon, placing strain on the intestinal wall, and leading to tiny pouches and bulges.
In most cases, diverticulosis causes no symptoms or problems. However, some people experience abdominal tenderness, bloating, or constipation.
Diverticulosis affects 30% of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 and 70% of adults age 80 and older.
What tests diagnose diverticulosis?
Because diverticulosis causes no symptoms, most people find out they have the digestive condition after undergoing one of these endoscopic procedures for something else, such as a colon cancer screening. NVG may diagnose you with diverticulosis during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
What treatments can help me manage diverticulosis?
There’s no specific treatment for diverticulosis. However, NVG recommends you eat a high-fiber diet to prevent complications from diverticulosis — namely diverticulitis, which occurs in fewer than 5% of people with diverticulosis.
Diverticulitis is inflammation and infection of the diverticula. It’s theorized that diverticulitis occurs because bacteria in your stool get stuck in the pouches, causing an infection.
Adding more fiber to your diet softens stools and improves bowel movements to reduce the risk of constipation and waste backing up in your colon. Increasing your fluid intake also helps move waste through your large intestine.
When do I need to be concerned about diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis can turn into diverticulitis which requires medical attention.
If you have diverticulosis and develop these symptoms, contact NVG immediately.
- Pain or tenderness on the lower left side of your abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal cramping
The team can provide treatment to clear up your infection and symptoms. If you have a severe infection, the team may recommend intravenous (IV) antibiotics or surgery.