Harvard Women's Health Watch

Diverticular disease prevention and treatment

This common colon condition usually produces no symptoms, but it can result in bleeding, pain, and serious infection.

Diverticular disease is a range of conditions caused by small balloon-like pouches, called diverticula (the singular is diverticulum), in the walls of the large intestine, or colon. Most people with diverticula in the colon — a condition called diverticulosis — don't have symptoms. In fact, the pouches are often discovered by chance during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy performed for other reasons. Some people with diverticulosis experience abdominal cramping and bloating, often precipitated by eating (although the cause isn't always clear — irritable bowel syndrome has similar symptoms).

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