Patient Care

Colonic Diverticulosis

What is Colonic Diverticulosis?

A Diverticulum is an outpouching of the large bowel wall.

Colonic Diverticulosis causes no symptoms. Diverticulitis (inflammation of a diverticulum) may cause fever, tummy pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Colonic Diverticulosis is a common condition. In contrast to Westerners, Diverticular disease among Asians demonstrates right-sided predominance. It is more common in older people, increasing from less than 5% at age 40, to 30% by age 60, to 65% by age 85.

Among all patients with Diverticulosis:

  • 80-85% remain asymptomatic
  • 15-20% develop Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis refers to the inflammation of a diverticulum.

The presentation depends on the severity of the inflammation.

What are the signs & symptoms of Colonic Diverticulosis?

Colonic Diverticulosis causes no symptoms.

The most common symptom of Diverticulitis is pain in the stomach.

Less common symptoms of Diverticulitis include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Urinary symptoms
How is Colonic Diverticulosis diagnosed?

Diverticulosis is usually found incidentally when doing tests for other reasons or medical conditions.

Diverticulosis may be diagnosed with the following:

  • Barium enema, which is an X-ray study that uses contrast and barium to view the outline of the large bowel.
  • Colonoscopy, which is a video examination of the entire large bowel with a long flexible tube which is inserted through the anus.
What are the treatment options for Colonic Diverticulosis?

No specific treatment is needed for Colonic Diverticulosis if there are no symptoms.

Increasing fiber in the diet may help to bulk up the stools and prevent the formation of new Diverticuli, Diverticulitis, or Diverticular bleeding. However, fiber is not proven to prevent these conditions.

Treatment of Diverticulitis depends on the severity of symptoms and clinical findings.

Those with mild symptoms may be treated at home with clear liquid diet and oral antibiotics.

People with moderate to severe symptoms usually need hospitalisation, when the patient is not allowed to eat or drink, and fluids and antibiotics may be given via a vein.

After an episode of Diverticulitis resolves, a Colonoscopy may be performed to examine the whole colon to determine the extent of disease and to rule out the presence of abnormal lesions such as polyps or cancer.

Surgery may be needed in those who develop serious complications. Surgery to remove the diseased area of the large bowel may not be needed for patients whose condition improve with medical therapy.

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