Diverticulosis is a condition in which pouches called diverticula form in the wall of the large intestine (colon). The pouches may not cause any symptoms, or they may bleed or become painful, inflamed, or infected.
The reason pouches (diverticula) form in the colon wall is not completely understood. Doctors think diverticula form when high pressure inside the colon pushes against weak spots in the colon wall. These pouches are usually very small (5 to 10 millimetres) in diameter but can be larger. They become more likely with age. They are found most often in the colon. But diverticula can be found in nearly all parts of the digestive tract.
Most people don't know they have diverticulosis. If diverticulosis isn't causing any problems, it may not need to be treated. If diagnosed, it is usually managed by increasing the amount of fibre in the person's diet and avoiding constipation.
Current as of: November 14, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Want More Information?
HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. or for deaf and hearing-impaired, call 7-1-1.
You can speak with a health service representative, who can also connect you with a:
- registered nurse any time, every day of the year;
- registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday;
- pharmacist from 5pm to 9am, every day of the year.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.