Diverticular Disease | Overview


What is diverticular disease?

Diverticular (say: die-ver-tick-yoo-ler) disease affects the lining of your large intestine. It is caused by small pouches (called diverticula) that can form anywhere in your digestive tract, but usually form in the last part of the large intestine (called the colon).

The most common types of diverticular disease are:

  • Diverticulosis. People who have diverticulosis have pouches in the large intestine. Most people who have diverticulosis don't have any symptoms and may not even know they have it.
  • Diverticulitis. This occurs when the pouches become infected and inflamed. Symptoms of diverticulitis can include severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, constipation or diarrhea. Less common symptoms include vomiting and frequent and painful urination. Pain is most often located on the lower left side of the abdomen. Complications of diverticulitis can include intestinal blockages and openings in the bowel wall.
  • Diverticular bleeding. Diverticular bleeding occurs when a blood vessel next to the pouches bursts. You may find blood in a bowel movement or in the toilet. If you notice blood coming from your rectum, you should call your doctor immediately.


Diverticular Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment by H Salzman, M.D., and D Lillie, M.D. (American Family Physician October 01, 2005, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20051001/1229.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 04/06