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Diverticulitis or Diverticulosis?



You may be wondering what the difference between diverticulitis and diverticulosis is.  Diverticular disease is a gastrointestinal tract disorder that affects the colon. It is characterized by the development of pockets or 'diverticula' within the colon wall. These diverticula tend to develop in the weak areas of the bowel. Sites where a large number of bloods vessels penetrate the walls of the bowel and in areas that are generally narrower than most others, such as the sigmoid colon are particularly affected.

It is widely believed that the development of diverticula is a result of the adoption of low-fiber Western diets. Diverticulosis is a common condition in developed countries and can be traced back to the early 1900's when processed foods, often low in fiber, became a part of an everyday diet. In non-Western cultures where a diet is based on large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables and little or no pre-packaged/processed foods, the condition is virtually non-existent.

The term diverticula disease describes the overall condition and it takes on board two phases of the disease, diverticulosis and diverticulitis. 

Diverticulosis is used to refer to the presence of diverticula within the colon. Someone may not feel or show a presence of any symptoms of the disease. In the majority of cases, diverticulosis does not progress to the second phase, or diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis is where the diverticula become inflamed. Diverticulitis occurs when bodily fluids or fecal matter becomes trapped in the diverticula.