On this page you will learn about diverticular disease symptoms and treatments including diets, diverticulitis management and much more.
Diverticulae are common, particularly as you get older.
It is said that over 50% of 50 year olds have the condition and it is also a common finding when having a colonoscopy procedure too.
Not everyone with diverticulae gets symptoms, but when they do occur, the main features are abdominal pain, bloating and wind.
Sometimes diverticulitis symptoms include features of diarrhea and constipation, features that are very similar to IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The picture on this page was taken during a colonoscopy procedure.
From the inside of the bowel, diverticular disease looks like holes, similar to 'mouse-trap cheese'.
If you were able to look at the bowel from the outside, they would have a sack-like appearance.
Sometimes, the pouches can become blocked and inflamed.
When this happens, the condition is called diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis symptoms include fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea (which is often bloody).
Bleeding can occur a lone symptom (which can be heavy requiring hospital admission), without diarrhea.
This is particularly common with sigmoid diverticulae.
The cause for this condition is thought to be due to the lack of fiber in the western diet and this is why the condition is predominantly occurs in the western world.
The diagnosis of is usually made with either a barium enema procedure, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy usually.
Treatment of is mainly aimed at lifestyle change, in particular increasing the amount of fiber in your diet as well as fluid intake.
The use of antispasmodics, such as Buscopan can also be helpful.
If the diverticulae become inflamed (Diverticulitis), antibiotics maybe required.
If unwell, this sometimes has to be given in hospital with intravenous antibiotics.
Bleeding is usually spontaneous and can be heavy requiring blood transfusion.
Fortunately, the bleeding often settles without further need to intervene, although sometimes surgery may be required for the severest of cases.
People often ask me about diets, but really it depends on your diverticular disease symptoms at the time.
If it is an acute diverticulitis attack then fluid intake is the most important thing and resting the bowel (i.e avoiding foods initially maybe the best option although your doctor will advise.
Once the acute attack has settled, then a similar diet to patients with IBS (see diet section) would be advised, although particularly concentrating on a high fiber diet.