Diverticulosis, defined simply as the presence in the large intestine (colon) of small saccular outpouchings, termed diverticula, is extremely common in “developed” countries and increases dramatically with age (Image 1 below). It affects approximately 5% of the population under 45 years of age and increases to almost 80% in those older than age 85 (1). Diverticula develop most commonly in the descending (“left-sided”) and sigmoid colon, however, there is geographic variability. In Asia and Africa, the ascending (“right-sided”) colon is more commonly involved, but the overall rate is much lower, at approximately 0.2%. Despite the prevalence of diverticulosis, about 70% of all people remain asymptomatic throughout their lifetime; 5-15% develop complications of diverticular bleeding, and 15-25% develop diverticulitis and associated complications.
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