Complete care for diverticular disease.
Diverticulosis is a condition that involves the presence of weakened areas in the walls of the colon (large intestine) that form pouches known as diverticula.
We use a team-based approach for managing complications that can result from this condition. Our team has vast experience in treating complications of diverticulosis.
Risk factors for diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is a common condition. About 60% of people will develop diverticula by the time they’re 60. However, there are factors that can increase your risk for diverticulosis, including:
- Eating too much red meat
- Lack of physical activity
- Not eating enough fiber
You may not notice any symptoms if you have diverticulosis. When symptoms do occur, they usually indicate a complication:
- Belly pain
When diverticula become inflamed or infected, that is a more serious condition called diverticulitis. Diverticula can also bleed. Your doctor can manage and treat these conditions with close monitoring from your care team.
However, it’s possible for you to develop severe infections or bleeding as a result of diverticulosis. Talk to your doctor or go to the Emergency Room if you have diverticulosis and any of these symptoms:
- Blood in the stool
- Severe belly pain
How we diagnose diverticulitis
Our doctors use a thorough screening and evaluation process to diagnose diverticulitis and any potential complications. Some of the diagnostic tests we use include:
- Blood tests: These let us look for signs of infection and how much blood you may have lost.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: This imaging study lets us view your entire abdomen (belly) and determine whether you have any complications from your diverticulosis, such as inflammation, perforation (a hole in the colon’s lining) or abscess (an infected collection of fluid).
Diverticulosis management options
You and your doctor will work together to create a personalized management plan based on your unique condition and needs. Your plan may include:
- Coaching for a healthy lifestyle: If your diverticulosis doesn’t involve complications, you likely can manage it by eating a high-fiber diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco and losing weight if needed.
- Medications: If you have developed diverticulitis as a result of your diverticulosis, you likely will need antibiotics.
- Colonoscopy: In some cases, this procedure allows us to treat complications.
- Interventional radiology: If your plan isn’t doing enough to control bleeding caused by your diverticulosis, our interventional radiologists can help.
- Surgery: If your diverticular disease is serious or keeps returning after treatment, surgery may be your best option.
Frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) about diverticulosis
Whether you’ve received a diagnosis of diverticulosis or you’re researching potential causes of your symptoms, we understand that you may have many questions. Learn from some of the questions we often receive from patients like you, as well as our answers.