Psychological and colonic factors in painful diverticulosis

Br J Surg. 2008 Feb;95(2):195-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.5962.


Background: The importance of psychological factors in symptom expression in diverticulosis is unknown. This follow-up study assessed the relative importance of colonic and psychological factors in symptom expression.

Methods: Patients with barium enema-proven diverticula were sent a bowel symptom questionnaire in 1999 and again in 2006 with additional psychological questionnaires included.

Results: Some 170 of 261 initial responders were eligible for follow-up and 124 (72.9 per cent) provided complete replies. Forty-two (33.9 per cent) of 124 respondents experienced recurrent abdominal pain a median of 3.5 (interquartile range (i.q.r.) 2.00-9.25) days per month, with a median duration of 1 (i.q.r. 0.7-2) h. Multivariable analysis identified a history of acute diverticulitis (odds ratio 3.98; P = 0.010) and a raised score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (odds ratio 2.53; P = 0.030) as the best predictors of recurrent pain.

Conclusion: Psychological and colonic factors are important in symptom expression in diverticulosis.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology
  • Abdominal Pain / psychology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Diverticulum, Colon / etiology*
  • Diverticulum, Colon / physiopathology
  • Diverticulum, Colon / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires