Background and Aims: Colonic diverticulosis (CD) is among the most common conditions of the large bowel. Several factors have been associated with an increased risk of CD and its complications, including advanced age, obesity, physical inactivity, and a low-fiber diet. Available data is conflicting and a comprehensive analysis of different bowel, dietary and environmental habits linked with CD is lacking. We aimed to investigate the relationship between potential risk factors and CD prevalence using full data from a colonoscopy-based cross-sectional study in Europe.

Methods: The study was conducted at three tertiary referral centers in Germany and Lithuania. It included consecutive adult patients referred for routine colonoscopy who completed a detailed questionnaire on our considered multiple risk factors for diverticulosis and diverticulitis, including dietary and environmental factors, and bowel habits.

Results: The study included 1,333 patients, 696 women and 635 men. Colonic diverticulosis was diagnosed in 858 (64%) of patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that age (OR: 1.08, 95%CI: 1.06–1.10, p<0.001) and obesity (OR: 1.05, 95%CI: 1.02–1.09, p=0.004) were associated with CD. We also revealed new risk factors for CD: increased frequency of bowel movements (OR: 0.10, 95%CI: 0.03-0.33, p<0.001) and feeling of incomplete bowel emptying (OR: 2.05, 95%CI: 1.47–2.87, p<0.001). Older participants had reduced odds (OR: 0.921, 95 CI: 0.89–0.95, p<0.05) of diverticulitis compared to younger subjects. Feeling of incomplete bowel emptying after defecation was associated with increased odds (OR: 2.769, 95% CI 1.35–5.7, p<0.006) for diverticulitis. Moreover, participants with a higher educational status had increased odds (OR: 2.453, 95%CI: 1.31–4.59, p=0.005) for diverticulitis compared to the lower education group.

Conclusions: Study shows that older age, obesity, frequency of bowel movements, and feeling of incomplete bowel emptying are associated with the risk of CD. Furthermore, older age, feeling of incomplete bowel emptying, and higher education were associated with the risk of diverticulitis among CD patients.


ecolonic diverticulosis, diverticular disease, risk factors, pathophysiology