Diverticular disease consists of two conditions which involve in the development of sacs, pouches or pockets in the wall of the colon, including diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

What is diverticulosis?

It is the formation of tiny pouches called diverticula in the lining of the bowel and these can be tiny or much larger. These are formed by increased pressure on the weakened parts of the intestinal wall by gas, liquid or waste. It can also be formed by the straining during bowel movement, such as constipation and these are most common in the lower portion of the large intestine.

Diverticulosis occurs above the age of 40 and 50% of persons above sixty. Many have no or very few symptoms. About 20% may develop complications with rectal bleeding which is called diverticular bleeding.

What is diverticulitis?

Diverticulities are the infection of one or more diverticula. These occur when pouches become blocked with waste, allowing bacteria to build up and cause infection.

The symptom of diverticulosis is only abdominal cramps and the symptoms of diverticulitis are alternating constipation with diarrhoea, painful abdominal cramps and fever.

High fibre foods, cereals high in bran and plenty of fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, carrots and beans can help. Boiled rice is also a good food.

Drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water and do not calculate the other beverages here. This helps to prevent diverticular disease.

Food with seeds and hulls such as tomatoes, strawberries and popcorn may be avoided because they may promote inflammation and a painful attack.