Diverticulitis develops when pouches in the weakened wall of the colon — diverticulosis, which is not necessarily problematic — become inflamed or infected. Diverticulitis ranges in severity, and, in some cases, can result in complications such as abscesses, bowel obstructions, fistulas, blood loss, and peritonitis.

The symptoms that develop before these complications set in can help patients and doctors identify the condition early enough for proper and effective treatment.

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1. Abdominal Pain

Despite this high incidence of diverticulosis, most people aren't aware of it because they don't present with any symptoms. However, 25 percent of people with diverticulosis will develop acute diverticulitis.

One of the first symptoms to appear may be cramping or pain. Since the left colon is the most common location of the diverticula, pain generally begins at the lower left side of the abdomen.

Person in a grey sweater holding their abdomen in pain
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