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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Feb;33(4):487-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04540.x. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Uncomplicated diverticular disease is not a common cause of colonic symptoms.

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Department of Gastroenterology, St George's Hospital, London, UK.



Colonic diverticular disease is common among older individuals whereas colonic symptoms, such as those of irritable bowel syndrome, are frequent in the general population.


To determine among patients in secondary care, if uncomplicated diverticular disease is a common cause of colonic symptoms.


Patients aged ≥50 years attending gastroenterology out-patient clinics or scheduled for colonoscopy or barium enema in a secondary care hospital were invited to take part. Those with structural gastrointestinal diseases were excluded. Participants completed a locally validated Rome II questionnaire on colonic symptoms. Patients with diverticular disease were compared with those without.


Seven hundred and eighty four patients with no structural pathology other than diverticular disease or benign colonic polyps completed the study. A total of 744 patients underwent colonoscopy, 40 barium enema. Of these, 281 patients had diverticular disease. Among patients with and without diverticular disease, the frequency of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome were 123 (44%) and 226 (46%), 44 (16%) and 80 (17%), 38 (14%) and 80 (17%) and 66 (25%) and 119 (25%), respectively (N.S.).


Uncomplicated colonic diverticular disease is not a common cause of colonic symptoms among patients in secondary care.

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