Symptom patterns can distinguish diverticular disease from irritable bowel syndrome

Rosario Cuomo, Giovanni Barbara, Paolo Andreozzi, Gabrio Bassotti, Tino Casetti, Mario Grassini, Enzo Ierardi, Giovanni Maconi, Santino Marchi, Giovanni Sarnelli, Vincenzo Savarino, Paolo Usai, Letizia Vozzella, Bruno Annibale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Diverticular disease (DD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) share a similar symptom pattern. However, comparative studies are flawed by different age at onset of symptoms. We aimed to verify whether clinical features distinguish DD from IBS. Materials and methods: Patients with DD or IBS, matched for age and gender (1/1) were consecutively recruited. Data on demographic parameters, voluptuary habits, inheritance of disease and symptoms were collected. Moreover, the association between pain > 24 h, and clinical parameters were evaluated. Results: Ninety patients with DD and 90 patients with IBS (DD: F/M: 46/44; age: 50.9 years; IBS: 46/44; 50.4) were selected from an overall population of 1275 patients. Only nine patients with DD (10%) fulfilled the criteria for IBS diagnosis. Abdominal pain > 24 h was more prevalent in SDD than in patients with IBS (20 vs. 6 patients; P <0·01). Furthermore, compared with IBS, patients with DD showed more episodes of pain > 24 h requiring medical attention (80% vs. 33%; P <0·01). Conclusions: Abdominal pain lasting for more than 24 h discriminates patients with DD compared with those with IBS. Identifying this symptom could be an appropriate strategy to define the diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1155
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Abdominal pain
  • Diverticular disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry


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