Expert Care for Diverticulosis

We use a multidisciplinary approach in managing diverticulosis and its complications. Our skilled gastroenterologists (physicians who specialize in care for diseases of the digestive system) as well as, our surgical colleagues, have years of education and training in treating diverticular disease. From diagnosis through treatment and follow-up, our physicians, nurses and support team are with you every step of the way.

What is diverticulosis?

Diverticula are the weak areas in the wall of the digestive tract. They often appear as pouches in the lining of the colon (large intestine). Diverticulosis is very common, roughly 60% of the population will have these by the time they are 60. Most people with diverticulosis will not have symptoms.

What is the difference between diverticulosis and diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is the presence of diverticula (pouches) in the wall of the colon. Diverticulitis is a more serious condition when these pouches become inflamed or infected. Seeking medical care for diverticulitis is important.

Risk factors for diverticulosis

Although anyone can develop diverticulosis, there are a few risk factors which include:

  • Eating too much red meat
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

We no longer believe eating seeds or nuts increase the risk of diverticulosis or its complications.

Diagnosing diverticulosis

At Henry Ford, our gastroenterologists and their teams perform a thorough evaluation to confirm a diagnosis of diverticulosis and its possible complications. Some of the screening and diagnostic tools available include:

  • Blood tests: This can look for signs of infection and in the setting of bleeding, how much blood has been lost.
  • CT scan: This imaging study can view the entire abdomen and evaluate for complications such as inflammation, perforation (a hole in the lining of the colon) or an abscess (an infected fluid collection).
  • Colonoscopy: A procedure where a physician advances a small camera through the colon. This is the best way to diagnosis diverticulosis, and can also evaluate and treat other conditions of the colon. 

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