Decoding your colon symptoms
Diverticulosis is quite common, especially as people age. Research suggests that about 35 percent of U.S. adults age 50 years or younger have diverticulosis, while about 58 percent of those older than age 60 have diverticulosis. Most people with diverticulosis will never develop symptoms or problems.
Diverticulitis occurs when you have diverticulosis and one or a few of the pouches in the wall of your colon become inflamed. It can come on suddenly and cause other problems.
People are more likely to develop diverticulosis and diverticulitis as they age. Other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcers, cause similar symptoms, so these symptoms may not mean you have diverticulosis. If you have symptoms such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea, or pain in your lower abdomen, see your doctor.
In most cases, when you have diverticular bleeding, you will suddenly have a large amount of red or maroon-colored blood in your stool.
Diverticular bleeding is rare. If you have bleeding, it can be severe. In some people, the bleeding may stop by itself and may not require treatment. However, if you have bleeding from your rectum—even a small amount—you should see a doctor right away.
If your bleeding does not stop, a surgeon may perform abdominal surgery with a colon resection. In a colon resection, the surgeon removes the affected part of your colon and joins the remaining ends of your colon together.
If you have diverticulitis with mild symptoms and no other problems, a doctor may recommend that you rest, take oral antibiotics, and follow a liquid diet for a period of time. If your symptoms ease after a few days, the doctor will recommend gradually adding solid foods back into your diet.