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HealthInfo Canterbury

Diverticular disease & diverticulitis

Diverticula are small pouches or bulges that form in the wall of your large bowel (also called your colon or large intestine). They are common, particularly among older people. For most people, diverticula do not cause symptoms or problems. Developing diverticula without any symptoms is known as diverticulosis.

Diverticular disease happens when diverticula cause symptoms such as lower tummy (abdominal) pain or bloating, but without inflammation or infection.These symptoms come and go – they are not present all the time. You may also develop diarrhoea (the runs) or constipation (hard poos) and pass mucus with your poo (stools).

Diverticulitis is when the diverticula become inflamed or infected. This causes pain or tenderness (usually in your left lower abdomen), diarrhoea or constipation, nausea (feeling sick) and sometimes vomiting, and often fever, chills and cramping.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2016.

See also:

Bowel cancer

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

In this section

Eating guidelines for diverticulosis, diverticular disease, & diverticulitis

Low-fibre diet

Page reference: 114745

Review key: HIDIV-114745