Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a small intestine and a large intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your small intestine to your rectum (the pouch at the end of your large intestine where stool is stored until you pass it).
What is diverticulosis?
In diverticulosis, tiny sacs or pouches form in your large intestine. These sacs are called diverticula.
Diverticulosis is common as people get older, and by age 90 most people have diverticulosis
Diverticulosis usually causes no symptoms unless one of the diverticula bleeds
Diverticulitis Diverticulitis Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a large intestine and a small intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your... read more is a similar-sounding condition in which one of your diverticula gets inflamed and painful
Doctors find diverticulosis when they do a colonoscopy or x-ray to look for other problems
Eating a high-fiber diet may prevent more sacs from forming
Large Intestine with Diverticula
Diverticula are balloon-like sacs that can develop in the large intestine.
What causes diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is probably caused by high pressure in your intestine. A low-fiber diet may cause the increased pressure. The increased pressure causes weak spots in your intestine’s wall to bulge, creating a sac or pouch.
Diverticulosis usually happens after age 40. It gets more common as you get older. Almost all people who reach age 90 have diverticulosis.
What are the symptoms of diverticulosis?
Most people with diverticulosis don't have symptoms except sometimes people feel:
Cramping belly pain
Otherwise, you're unlikely to have symptoms unless you develop complications such as diverticulitis Diverticulitis Your intestine is the long tube in your digestive system that digests food and absorbs nutrients. You have a large intestine and a small intestine. Your large intestine (colon) connects your... read more or bleeding.
Sometimes, one of the sacs bleeds, causing blood in your stool. The bleeding usually stops on its own, but it can be heavy.
How can doctors tell if I have diverticulosis?
Doctors find diverticulosis when they do tests for other reasons, such as belly pain or bleeding. Diverticulosis can show up on the following tests:
Colonoscopy Endoscopy "Endo" means inside, and "scope" means look. So an endoscope is an instrument doctors use to look inside your body. Endoscopes can also be used to do tests and treat diseases. Endoscopes are... read more (a test in which a doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube with a small camera through your rectum to look at your intestine)
How do doctors treat diverticulosis?
Doctors don't treat diverticulosis itself, but they may try to prevent its complications by lessening the pressure in your intestine. They'll have you:
Eat a high-fiber diet (lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains)
Drink plenty of fluids
Sometimes, eat bran or take supplements to bulk up your stool
Most bleeding stops without treatment. If it doesn't, doctors often do a colonoscopy to:
Close the bleeding area with heat or a laser
Inject the area with medicine
If colonoscopy treatments don't stop the bleeding, doctors may do angiography Angiography "Angio" is a medical term for blood vessels, and "graphy" has to do with pictures (think photography). So angiography is taking pictures of your blood vessels. It takes the pictures using x-rays... read more . In angiography, they thread a small tube through one of your blood vessels into the bleeding spot. Then they inject substances that block off the bleeding blood vessel. People rarely need surgery to stop the bleeding.