In most patients with diverticulosis, the diverticula do not cause any problems or symptoms. In some cases, a small, hard piece of stool is trapped in the opening of the diverticula, which then become inflamed. When this occurs, the condition is called diverticulitis. A small tear may develop in the lining of the intestine inside the diverticula, which can lead to an infection at the site and sometimes death of the segment of colon containing the diverticula.
Review Date 4/14/2021
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.