Diverticular disease is a common benign condition characterised by bulges or pockets which develop in the large bowel. Many theories have been proposed for the development of diverticulae, but increasing age is a predisposing factor. Most of us have diverticulosis, in other words presence of diverticulae in the bowel, but we are unaware of its presence. However, diverticular disease can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and alterations in bowel habit. Most of the time, these symptoms can be managed effectively by dietary and lifestyle changes.
Complications can arise from diverticular disease, such as acute inflammation and infection manifesting as diverticulits, formation of collections of infected fluid, or uncommonly bowel perforation (hole in the bowel). Majority of the complications associated with diverticular disease can be managed without surgery. However, surgery to remove part of the bowel may be indicated in certain cases.