Irritable bowel syndrome and colonic diverticular disease: Overlapping symptoms and overlapping therapeutic approaches

Rommel Zerpa Alamo, Eamonn M.M. Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common symptomatic disorder in the Western world and colonic diverticula are also prevalent; however, relationships between IBS-type symptoms and diverticula have been a source of much debate. Our goal was to reassess these relationships in the light of new data.Recent findingsOn removing from consideration clinical scenarios which are directly related to diverticula (i.e., diverticulitis, diverticular hemorrhage, and complications of diverticulitis, such as stricture and fistula), relationships between IBS and diverticula can be seen to revolve around a number of questions. First, are IBS and symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD) the same condition? Or, in other words is SUDD no more than IBS in an individual who just happens to have diverticula? Although coincident IBS and diverticula inevitably do occur there is some evidence to indicate that SUDD may be somewhat distinctive with SUDD being characterized by more frequent and severe pain. Second, and analogous to interactions between IBS and inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, can an episode of acute diverticulitis lead to the de novo development of IBS? There is now epidemiological and pathophysiological evidence to support this occurrence.SummaryAlthough relationships between uncomplicated diverticular disease and IBS have been reexamined their status remains unclear. As yet, however, none of the newer concepts related to this relationship have led to new therapeutic approaches in IBS or diverticular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • diverticular disease
  • diverticulosis
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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