Diverticulitis Causes & Risk Factors

Diverticulitis Causes & Risk Factors

There is no simple answer for what causes diverticulitis. For many years, healthcare professionals thought a low-fiber diet
was a leading cause, but new research shows this might not be the case. Talk with your doctor about how much fiber you
need in your diet. While the cause isn’t 100% known, there are some risk factors for developing diverticulitis:

  • Obesity
  • Not exercising
  • Age: Your risk starts going up when you turn 40.
  • Smoking
  • Some medicines: Steroids, opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Family traits: Researchers are studying genes to see if you are more at risk if other people in your family have had diverticulitis.
  • Gut bacteria: If bacteria or stool get caught in a pouch in your colon, this may decrease the healthy bacteria and increase the disease-causing bacteria in your colon.


1. National Institutes of Health website. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diverticulosis-diverticulitis. Accessed July 16, 2019.
2. Familydoctor.org, American Academy of Family Physicians website. https://familydoctor.org/condition/diverticular-disease/?adfree=true. Accessed July 16, 2019.
3. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diverticulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371758. Accessed July 16, 2019.