Diverticulosis risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Seyedmahdi Pahlavani, M.D. [2]


Risk factors in the development of diverticulosis include advanced age, chronic constipation, connective tissue diseases (such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers Danlos syndrome), low dietary fiber intake, high intake of fat and red meat, and obesity.

Risk Factors

Risk factors in the development of diverticulosis include the following:[1]

  • Advanced age
  • Chronic constipation
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Low fiber diet
  • The role of fiber in the development of diverticulosis remains unclear. ALthough classically low fiber diet has been associated with development of diverticulosis, results from newer studies are conflicting.[2] However, dietary fiber and a vegetarian diet may reduce the incidence of symptomatic diverticular disease by decreasing intestinal inflammation and altering the intestinal microbiota.[3][4]
  • High fiber and red meat diet
  • The risk of diverticulosis may be significantly increased with diets that are high in total fat or red meat compared with fat and red meat-rich diets.[3]
  • Obesity


  1. Strate LL, Liu YL, Aldoori WH, Syngal S, Giovannucci EL (2009). "Obesity increases the risks of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding". Gastroenterology. 136 (1): 115–122.e1. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2008.09.025. PMC 2643271. PMID 18996378.
  2. Peery AF, Sandler RS, Ahnen DJ, Galanko JA, Holm AN, Shaukat A, Mott LA, Barry EL, Fried DA, Baron JA (2013). "Constipation and a low-fiber diet are not associated with diverticulosis". Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 11 (12): 1622–7. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.06.033. PMC 3840096. PMID 23891924.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aldoori WH, Giovannucci EL, Rimm EB, Wing AL, Trichopoulos DV, Willett WC (1994). "A prospective study of diet and the risk of symptomatic diverticular disease in men". Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 60 (5): 757–64. PMID 7942584.
  4. Painter NS, Burkitt DP (1971). "Diverticular disease of the colon: a deficiency disease of Western civilization". Br Med J. 2 (5759): 450–4. PMC 1796198. PMID 4930390.