What is Diverticular Disease?
Diverticular diseases occur in relation to the formation of small pockets in the lining of the bowel. The formation of these pockets is known as diverticulosis. The pockets themselves are called diverticula and can be as small as a pencil eraser or much larger. Diverticula can form as a result of gas, fluid or waste exerting pressure on weak spots on the intestinal walls over a period of time.
Diverticular Disease Types
Diverticulosis is common, affecting 10 percent of individuals over 40 and 50 percent of individuals over 60. In most cases, diverticulosis involves no symptoms. But two diverticular diseases can develop as a result, which can cause complications.
These conditions are:
- Diverticular bleeding – This occurs when one or more diverticula begin to bleed, causing a large amount of blood to appear in the stool. Typically bleeding will resolve on its own.
- Diverticulitis – This is an infection and inflammation of one or more diverticula, which can occur suddenly and cause diarrhea, constipation and painful cramps in the lower intestine.
Are you at Risk for Diverticular Disease?
If you are constipated frequently, you are at an increased risk for developing diverticular disease, because straining during bowel movements can cause the pockets to develop. This is especially true in the sigmoid colon, which is the lower part of the large intestine.
Treatment Options at TGH
Individuals with diverticulosis who are not experiencing symptoms may not require treatment and can prevent further complications through lifestyle modifications, such as eating a high fiber diet.
For those who do develop complications from diverticular disease, the physicians at Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center can help. Our team of specialists uses the latest advancements in diagnostic technologies to determine what complications from diverticular disease you are experiencing and at risk for. We’ll then recommend and perform the non-surgical or surgical intervention that is most likely to result in a positive outcome.
Because of our affiliation with the University of South Florida, Tampa General Hospital is an academic center at the forefront of advances in colorectal medicine and clinical trials. Our commitment to defining medicine and providing world-class care has helped Tampa General Hospital be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals and highest ranked in Florida for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery.