Diverticular Disease | Diagnosis & Tests


How can my doctor tell if I have diverticular disease?

Your doctor may check your abdomen for tenderness and ask you about your bowel habits, diet and medications. Your doctor may also want to do some tests to screen for diverticular disease:

  • Barium enema. For this test, you are given an enema (injection of fluid into the rectum) with a liquid that makes your colon show up on an X-ray.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy. In this test, your doctor puts a thin, flexible, hollow tube with a light on the end into your rectum. The tube is connected to a tiny video camera, which allows your doctor to see the rectum and the last part of your colon.
  • Colonoscopy. Before you have this test, you are given a medicine to make you relaxed and sleepy. A thin, flexible tube connected to a video camera is put into your rectum, which allows your doctor to see your whole colon. A colonoscopy may be uncomfortable, but it is usually not painful.
  • CT Scan. This test is a type of X-ray that allows your doctor to see the pouches in your digestive tract that are inflamed or infected.

Sometimes, diverticular disease is found when tests are ordered for a different reason, such as routine screening that checks for colorectal cancer or other digestive problems.


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