Treatment options for uncomplicated diverticular disease of the colon

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct;43(9):803-8. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181b3ab2e.


Patients affected by uncomplicated diverticular disease (DD) suffer from colicky, unexplained, recurrent, and short-lived but often debilitating abdominal pain and alteration in bowel habit. Although the goals of therapy, such as to improve symptoms and to prevent both recurrent attacks and complications, are clearly established, the standard approach remains still debated. We examined the current scientific evidence supporting the different treatment options for uncomplicated DD. An internet-based search strategy of the Medline and Science Citation Index was performed using the keywords: diverticulosis, DD, fiber, bran, diet, antibiotics, rifaximin, probiotics, prebiotics, bacteria, lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, 5-aminosalicylic acid, sulfasalazine, mesalazine, balsalazide in various combinations to select randomized trials published in the English language between January 1966 and March 2009. The use of fiber and nonabsorbable antibiotics is supported by the existence of randomized controlled studies. More recently, alternative treatments, such as probiotics and mesalazine have been proposed even if no definite data are available. Although the preliminary results seem to be promising, randomized, placebo-controlled studies are needed before new therapies can be recommended in the management of uncomplicated DD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Abdominal Pain / prevention & control
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Defecation
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / complications
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / physiopathology
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dietary Fiber