Conditions and diseases
Symptoms and causes
What is it?
Diverticles are a common problem (50% of people at age 70 have them); they consist of weak spots in the colon wall. In these weak spots, the intestinal wall bulges out and small pouches form. These pouches are called diverticles, and the presence of diverticles in a patient is called diverticulosis. Inflammation of these bags is quite common and is called diverticulitis.
It is believed that the cause of these problems lies in the Western diet, which is too low in fibre.
Symptoms and complaints
Diverticulosis on its own does not usually cause any symptoms, diverticulitis, on the other hand, almost always causes symptoms: lower abdominal pain, fever, constipation...
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis can be complicated by bleeding, intestinal perforation and abscesses.
Diagnosis and treatment
Testing and diagnosis
Usually, diverticles are detected by chance based on a radiography of the colon or a colonoscopy. In the case of diverticulitis, in response to symptoms, the diagnosis is usually made through a physician's clinical examination combined with a blood test. If diverticulitis is suspected, a CT scan of the abdomen is recommended as a start.
The treatment of diverticulosis consists of increasing fibre intake. The treatment of diverticulitis consists of controlling the infection with antibiotics. If this fails or if the inflammation recurs too frequently, surgical intervention can be decided upon.
Treatment centres and specialisations
Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vanderstraeten Erik