Loose bowel motions may be due to an infection (gastroenteritis) but if the symptoms persist for more than 3 weeks then other conditions need to be considered. Sometimes the problem is......

Diverticular

Diverticular disease (view from the inside - at colonoscopy). Note that the "pockets" are wide-mouthed
Viewed from the outside

What is diverticular disease?



  • This is a condition where there are “pockets” on the colon.
    • These are “ballooned out” areas that form in weak spots on the colon presumably in response to high pressure in the bowel.
    • Diverticular disease is common - and becomes more common with age.
    • More than 1/3 of people over 45 years and 2/3 people over 85 years have diverticular disease.


  • The cause of diverticular disease is unknown.
    • It is a disease that is much more common in Western populations.
    • It is uncommon in Asian and African populations.
    • This has given rise to the idea that the low dietary fibre in the Western diet is the cause of diverticular disease.
    • This is only a hypothesis.  There is only limited evidence linking low fibre intake with diverticular disease.
    • There is no evidence that an increase in dietary fibre can prevent or delay progression of the condition.
    • There is likely to be a dietary influence but this could equally be some other dietary factor - perhaps a rice-based diet is less likely to give problems that our strongly wheat-based diet.
    • There is an association with being overweight and a sedentary lifestyle
    • There is probably a genetic factor as there is commonly a family history but there is limited data on this issue

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