Diverticulosis is the out-pouching of the colon wall. Diverticulosis is quite common with approximately 60% of all Americans having diverticulosis by the age of 60. Though not proven, many theorize the western diet low in fiber has contributed to the increasing frequency of diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is diagnosed either during the time of a colonoscopy or by a radiological study (barium enema, CT scan). Of all patients with diverticulosis, 70% will remain asymptomatic.
The two most common complications of diverticulosis include bleeding or infection (diverticulitis). Diverticulitis is when the out-pouches of the colon become infected causing acute onset of abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diverticular bleeding is the abrupt onset of painless, large volume rectal bleeding. Both complications often require hospitalization for treatment.