Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Causes

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What are the causes of your diverticulitis?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What causes diverticula, and how do diverticula form?

The muscular wall of the colon grows thicker with age, although the cause of this thickening is unclear. It may reflect the increasing pressures required by the colon to eliminate feces. For example, a diet low in fiber can lead to small, hard stools which are difficult to pass and which require increased pressure to pass. The lack of fiber and small stools also may allow segments of the colon to close off from the rest of the colon when the colonic muscle in the segment contracts. The pressure in these closed-off segments may become high since the increased pressure cannot dissipate to the rest of the colon. Over time, high pressures in the colon push the inner intestinal lining outward (herniation) through weak areas in the muscular walls. These pouches or sacs that develop are called diverticula.

Lack of fiber in the diet is considered the most likely cause of diverticula, and there is a good correlation among societies around the world between the amount of fiber in the diet and the prevalence of diverticula. Many patients with diverticular disease have excessive thickening of the muscular wall of the colon where the diverticula form. The muscle also contracts more strongly. These abnormalities of the muscle may be contributing factors in the formation of diverticula. Microscopic examination of the edges of the diverticula show signs of inflammation, and it has been suggested that there may be an inflammatory component to the formation of the diverticula.

Return to Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Miami Sue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

In 2008 I had a colonoscopy and was congratulated because no polyps were found. I did have diverticulosis and had no understanding of what that meant. I was active with a healthy diet and when I got increasing abdominal pain in 2011 I called my doctor. He asked if my appendix had been removed. I said no and he sent me to the hospital. There I was diagnosed with diverticulitis, given antibiotics and sent home with prescriptions for Cipro and Flagyl (10 days). After taking same I felt much better. My attack occurred after eating a box of crackers with poppy seeds. Now there is a debate, some doctors say it doesn't matter what you eat, others say avoid nuts and seeds but eat high fiber. The catch is that high fiber foods are difficult to digest, so if you are having a flare up you should not eat high fiber foods and fruit. Allow your bowels to rest and heal first. Probiotics are not a cure but they support colon/abdominal health, especially if you take antibiotics. I had additional flare ups in 2013, 2014 and 2015. I decided to have the surgery as I had lost a lot of weight (I was small to begin with) and was in a lot of pain and did not want to perforate. It is just 3 weeks since my surgery and I am feeling so much better. Eating fish and poultry, I can now tolerate salad and green vegetables. My advice is, each person is different, so if you aren't having flare ups maintain a healthy (high fiber, low grease) diet with exercise but if you are having repeated infections contact an experienced highly skilled surgeon and schedule your operation.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Thisisn'tfun, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I am currently experiencing my second bout of diverticulitis. My first bout was in 2006, and I was hospitalized for two days, kept off food and had IV antibiotics. I have been an ovo-vegetarian for two years, so I am very surprised that this came back, since eggs are really the only thing I eat that doesn't have fiber. I think that stress was a major factor in the first time I had diverticulitis, but I am at a loss for this time, as I am not in a stressful state at this time. I am about 30 pounds overweight, so that can't be helping the situation. I plan on seeing my gastroenterologist, and once healed, will increase my fiber to ensure that I am eating at least 1 piece of fruit and 1/2 cup of beans daily. I do believe in a high fiber diet. Colon cancer runs in my family, and although I've heard that diverticulitis is not related, I don't really believe that. It's all about the colon.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors