epidemiology of diverticular disease

Last edited 09/2018 and last reviewed 03/2021


Prevalence of diverticulosis increases uniformly with age. It affects 50% of people aged 60 years or older which increases to 70% by the age of 80 (1).

  • although this condition was thought to affect men and women with similar frequency, several studies have noted a difference between the two sexes
    • a review of hospital discharges from 1989 to 2000 in England (United Kingdom) reported that rates of hospitalization were higher among men younger than 50 years of age, but higher for women older than 50 years of age
      • a Canadian study had similar observations with hospitalization rate for men with diverticular disease of 45 per 100,000 in the 40- to 49-year age group compared with 38 per 100,000 in the same age group of women (1,2) .
Higher prevalence is seen in western and industrialized countries (USA, Europe, Australia etc) than in Africa or Asia where prevalence rates are less than 0.5% (1)
  • low fiber content in Western diet (when compared to Asian and African) has been linked to this difference. It is assumed that longer stool transit time resulted in the development of diverticulae
    • in the UK where the dietary fiber intake is low, stool transit time was reported to be 80 hours with a mean stool weight of 110 g/d while in Uganda (with high fiber intake), the transit time was only 34 hours with a higher mean stool weight of 450g/d

Location of the diverticular differs geographically as well

  • in Western countries - more common in sigmoid colon
  • in Asia - right sided diverticular is more common (1)


  1. Feuerstein JD, Falchuk KR. Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Aug;91(8):1094-104
  2. Weizman AV, Nguyen GC. Diverticular disease: Epidemiology and management. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;25(7):385-389.