Although doctors aren't certain what causes diverticulosis, increased pressure in the colon that creates diverticula on weak spots on the colon wall may be one cause, according to WebMD. Diverticula are pouches that form in the colon.
The colon produces more pressure to pass small, hard stool, WebMD explains. Over time, these stools may not clear the colon, which causes even more pressure. A high-fiber diet can eliminate the hard stools and decrease the pressure in the colon.
Many patients with diverticulosis remain unaware because they don't have symptoms, WebMD reports. It usually is diagnosed while doctors are performing other tests or if the patient develops an infection known as diverticulitis. Only about 20 percent of diverticulosis patients develop diverticulitis.
Diverticulosis is often diagnosed during routine colon procedures, such as a colonoscopy, WebMD states. Barium enema X-rays can also reveal diverticula in the colon.
Most people can prevent or treat diverticulosis by avoiding constipation, WebMD advises. Doctors recommend patients eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drinking plenty of fluids, exercise and taking fiber supplements also can help.
Regular exercise can also help treat diverticulosis, WebMD says. Doctors usually recommend moderate activity for two and a half hours a week or vigorous activity for 90 minutes a week.