-This information was developed by the Publications Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). For more information about ASGE, visit www.asge.org.
-This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
What is diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is a condition in which there are small pouches or pockets in the wall or lining of any portion of the digestive tract. These pockets occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer. A single pouch is called a diverticulum. The pouches associated with diverticulosis are most often located in the lower part of the large intestine (the colon). Some people may have only several small pouches on the left side of the colon, while others may have involvement in most of the colon.
Who gets diverticulosis?
Diverticulosis is a common condition in the United States that affects half of all people over 60 years of age and nearly everyone by the age of 80. As a person gets older, the pouches in the digestive tract become more prominent. Diverticulosis is unusual in people under 40 years of age. In addition, it is uncommon in certain parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa.
Diverticulosis is a common condition in the United States that affects half of all people over 60 years of age and nearly everyone by the age of 80. Most people who have diverticulosis are unaware that they have the condition because it usually does not cause symptoms.
What causes diverticulosis?
Because diverticulosis is uncommon in regions of the world where diets are high in fiber and rich in grains, fruits and vegetables, most doctors believe this condition is due in part to a diet low in fiber. A low-fiber diet leads to constipation, which increases pressure within the digestive tract with straining during bowel movements. The combination of pressure and straining over many years likely leads to diverticulosis.