Diverticulosis (or diverticular disease)

Symptoms, types, complications—everything you need to know about this condition.

Diverticular disease is characterized by small pouches called diverticula, which are about the size of a marble. They’re usually found in the small or large intestine, but can also occur in the digestive tract. Diverticulosis happens when these little pouches become infected.

Diverticulosis affects 50% of North Americans over the age of 50.

Symptoms

Most of the time, diverticulosis does not cause symptoms.

Diverticular disease, however, can present several symptoms:

  • Sudden intense pain on the left side of the lower abdomen
  • Abdomen tenderness
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Frequent need to urinate or painful urination

Complications

Diverticulosis

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Inflammation (or diverticular disease)

Diverticular disease

  • Abscesses in the diverticular pouch
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Obstruction of the small or large intestine
  • Fistula (purulent discharges) of the bladder, vagina and skin
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity)

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Diverticulosis (or diverticular disease)

Diverticular disease is characterized by small pouches called diverticula, which are about the size of a marble. They’re usually found in the small or large intestine, but can also occur in the digestive tract. Diverticulosis happens when these little pouches become infected.
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