Harvard Men's Health Watch

In the journals: Diverticulitis is less common than we thought

The long-term risk of painful complications from the disease process known as diverticulosis may be lower than we thought, according to a study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

In diverticulosis, a person develops pockets (diverticula) in the wall of the colon. The pockets are usually harmless, but they sometimes get infected and inflamed (diverticulitis), causing pain and extreme discomfort.

Textbooks say that the long-term chance of developing complications of diverticulosis is up to 25%. To check the statistic, researchers scrutinized health records of people who had colonoscopies from 1996 to 2011 and identified 2,222 cases of diverticulosis. Over 11 years, only about 4% of these people developed diverticulitis. That's lower than the commonly cited figure of 25%.

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