Department of Surgery
The term "Diverticular disease" refers to a condition where small sacs or pockets develop in the wall of the colon.
Diverticulosis occurs when many tiny pockets, called diverticula, form in the lining of the lower region of the large intestine. Ranging in size from a small pea to a large marble, these pockets form when gas, stool, or liquid put pressure on the weaker spots of the bowel walls.
Most people living in our part of the world will develop diverticulosis during their lifetime, but few will ever have any symptoms. People who have diverticulosis without symptoms or complications should follow a high-fiber diet, but do not need any additional treatment. However, one of every five people who have diverticulosis may develop inflammation of the diverticulae, which is called diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis occurs when one of more diverticula become inflamed. Diverticulitis may occur suddenly and without warning.
- Painful cramps in the lower abdomen
See your doctor if you have such symptoms. Be prepared to answer questions about your bowel habits, symptoms, diet, and current medications.
The best way to prevent diverticular disease or reduce the complications from it is to maintain healthy eating habits. Ask your doctor to recommend a diet that will enable you to have regular bowel movements. It is important to eat the right amounts and the right types of fiber, drink plenty of liquids, and exercise regularly.
Diverticular bleeding occurs when the small blood vessels that are next to the diverticula are repeatedly injured.
Surgery for diverticular disease involves removing the affected portion of your colon. This can often be performed laparoscopically or through a single incision in your belly-button.