Digestive Disease

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is small pouches in the colon that have pushed through the weak spots in the colon wall. Multiple pouches are called diverticula and individual pouches are called diverticulum.

How common is Diverticulitis?

10% of people over the age of 40 have diverticulitis. 50% of people over the age of 60 have this disease.

Pain management

Over the counter pain medication can help with the pain of Diverticulitis. Prescribed pain medication may be used, but it may aggravate the issue.

Symtoms of Diverticulitis

Coping with Diverticulitis

High fiber diets help with diverticulitis flare ups. Proteins and low fat foods can also help.

Causes and Risk Factors

Diverticulitis is caused by naturally weak places in the colon giving way under pressure, making the small pouches in the colon wall.

Steps in Preventing Diverticulitis

• Eat lots of fiber

• Stay away from fatty foods

• Drink a lot of water

• Exercise

Treating Diverticulitis

At home- Rest and consume a liquid diet for a few days so the infection can heal

Antibiotics help kill bacteria

Hospitalization- Severe attacks may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics

Surgery may be recommended if the diverticulitis is recurring or something (ex. an abscess) was caused by the diverticulitis

How is Diverticulitis diagnosed?

Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed by blood test, stool samples, digital rectal exam, colonoscopy, x ray and barium enema, and through your medical history.

The picture to the right shows an x ray of the large intestine using a barium enema

How does Diverticulitis start and develop?

Doctors do not know why diverticulitis starts. Low fiber may play a part because low fiber can cause constipation and when you’re constipated, your muscles strain. Straining may cause the pouches to form.


The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. "National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)." Diverticular Disease. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 May 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

"Diverticular Disease Causes, Symptoms, Treatments." WebMD. WebMD. 11 Nov. 2013

"Nutrition and IBD, UC, IBS - Watch WebMD Video." WebMD. WebMD. 11 Nov.