Colonic diverticular disease

Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2020 Mar 26;6(1):20. doi: 10.1038/s41572-020-0153-5.


Diverticula are outpouchings of the intestinal wall and are common anatomical alterations detected in the human colon. Colonic diverticulosis (the presence of diverticula in the colon; referred to as diverticulosis) remains asymptomatic in most individuals but ~25% of individuals will develop symptomatic diverticulosis, termed colonic diverticular disease (also known as diverticular disease). Diverticular disease can range in severity from symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD) to symptomatic disease with complications such as acute diverticulitis or diverticular haemorrhage. Since the early 2000s, a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of diverticulosis and diverticular disease, which encompasses genetic alterations, chronic low-grade inflammation and gut dysbiosis, has led to improvements in diagnosis and management. Diagnosis of diverticular disease relies on imaging approaches, such as ultrasonography, CT and MRI, as biomarkers alone are insufficient to establish a diagnosis despite their role in determining disease severity and progression as well as in differential diagnosis. Treatments for diverticular disease include dietary fibre, pharmacological treatments such as antibiotics (rifaximin), anti-inflammatory drugs (mesalazine) and probiotics, alone or in combination, and eventually surgery. Despite being effective in treating primary disease, their effectiveness in primary and secondary prevention of complications is still uncertain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / complications*
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / epidemiology
  • Diverticulosis, Colonic / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fiber