What is Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak spots in the wall of the colon. These sacs, called diverticula, can also form in the stomach, intestine and esophagus.

Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticular sacs become infected.

What Causes Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

While the exact cause of diverticulosis isn’t known, we do know it’s rare in people who eat high fiber diets. Therefore, some doctors believe the pressure from the bulky stool created by a low-fiber diet results in straining and causes these pouches to form.

What are the Symptoms of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

Most patients with diverticulosis don’t experience symptoms until the diverticula become infected. Patients with diverticulitis may experience nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, and a change in bowel habits.

What is the Treatment for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

The best way to try to prevent diverticulosis is to eat a high-fiber diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting daily exercise will also help manage diverticulosis. Additionally, taking fiber supplements and keeping a schedule for bowel movements are good practices to help prevent symptoms.

There is no proven way to prevent diverticulitis. Once diagnosed, diverticulitis is usually treated with antibiotics and rarely requires surgery.

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