What Is Sigmoid Diverticulosis?

Sigmoid diverticulosis refers to the formation of small pockets along the lower portion of the large intestine, known as the sigmoid colon, as stated by WebMD. These diverticula result when waste, gas or liquid put pressure on the intestine.

Diverticula may form when the individual is straining during a bowel movement, according to WebMD. Diverticulosis causes no symptoms and occurs in approximately 10 percent of people over age 40. The incidence increases to 50 percent by age 60. Individuals can avoid diverticulosis by having regular bowel movements, avoiding straining, adopting a high-fiber diet, exercising regularly and drinking plenty of fluids. Approximately 20 percent of individuals with diverticulosis experience complications, which may include rectal bleeding and an infection known as diverticulitis. This infection occurs when a waste blockage causes bacteria to build up in the diverticula, and symptoms may include lower abdominal pain, chills, fever and alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

Diverticulosis is generally found accidentally, when a doctor evaluates a patient for other conditions. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of diverticulitis should contact a doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment. The doctor may examine the rectum and order tests such as a sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy, X-rays, CT scans and blood tests.