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).
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.