Diverticular disease is characterized by small, balloon-like sacs (diverticula) protruding through the muscular layer of the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract.
By far, the most common site for diverticula to develop is in the large intestine. Rarely, diverticula develop in the stomach and small intestine. Meckel's diverticulum is the most common diverticular disease of the small intestine. It is present at birth in about 2 to 3% of people (see Digestive Disorders in Children: Meckel Diverticulum). The presence of diverticula is called diverticulosis—a condition that tends to develop during middle age. If diverticula become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis.
Last full review/revision November 2007 by Michael C. DiMarino, MD