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Colonic diverticulosis and diverticular disease: Epidemiology, risk factors, and pathogenesis

John H Pemberton, MD
Section Editor
Lawrence S Friedman, MD
Deputy Editor
Shilpa Grover, MD, MPH, AGAF


Diverticular disease of the colon is an important cause of hospital admissions and a significant contributor to healthcare costs in Western and industrialized societies [1,2].

This topic will review the epidemiology, risk factors, and the pathogenesis of diverticulosis and diverticular disease. The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of diverticulitis, diverticular bleeding, and segmental colitis associated with diverticula (diverticular colitis) are discussed in detail, separately. (See "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of acute diverticulitis in adults" and "Acute colonic diverticulitis: Medical management" and "Colonic diverticular bleeding".)


A diverticulum is a sac-like protrusion of the colonic wall.

Diverticulosis is defined by the presence of diverticula. Diverticulosis may be asymptomatic or symptomatic.

Diverticular disease is defined as clinically significant and symptomatic diverticulosis due to diverticular bleeding, diverticulitis, segmental colitis associated with diverticula, or symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 16, 2016.
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