These factors may increase your chances of getting diverticulitis:

  • Aging. You're more likely to get diverticulitis if you're over 40, although it's not known why. It may be that age-related changes, such as a decrease in strength and elasticity of your bowel wall, could contribute to diverticulitis.
  • Too little fiber. Diverticulitis is rare in countries where people eat a high-fiber diet that helps keep stools soft. But it's common in industrialized nations, such as the United States, where the average diet is high in refined carbohydrates and low in fiber. In fact, diverticular disease emerged after the introduction of steel-rolling mills, which greatly reduced the fiber content of flour and other grains.
  • Lack of exercise. Lack of exercise has been associated with a greater risk of formation of diverticula, putting a person at risk of diverticulitis. The reasons for this aren't understood.
  • Obesity. Being seriously overweight increases your odds of developing diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.
  • Smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to experience diverticulitis.
May. 21, 2011