Diverticulum refers to a side-branch or pouch which sticks outwards from the wall of the large intestine (also known as the colon). The most common site for diverticula is in the lower part of the large bowel on the left hand side, although they do occasionally occur in the small intestine and, rarely, elsewhere in the gut. They are permanent unless the affected part of the intestine is surgically removed. Diverticular disease is extremely common in the developed world. Between 30% and 50% of this population will be affected during their lifetime with the likelihood of developing it increases with age.
Diverticular disease is a term mainly used in people who develop symptoms. Diverticulitis means the condition that occurs when a single diverticulum or several diverticula become inflamed.
The full Guts UK/BSG factsheet can be downloaded below.