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Other namesDiverticula
Schematic picture of the diverticulum.jpg
Schematic drawing of a false diverticulum. A - mucosa; B - submucosa; C - muscularis; D - serosa and subserosa
Specialty Gastroenterology

In medicine or biology, a diverticulum is an outpouching of a hollow (or a fluid-filled) structure in the body. [1] Depending upon which layers of the structure are involved, diverticula are described as being either true or false. [2]


In medicine, the term usually implies the structure is not normally present, but in embryology, the term is used for some normal structures arising from others, as for instance the thyroid diverticulum, which arises from the tongue. [3]

The word comes from Latin dīverticulum, "bypath" or "byway".


Diverticula are described as being true or false depending upon the layers involved:


The 3 classifications of esophageal diverticula. 1-Pharyngeal (Zenker's) 2-Midesophageal 3-Epiphrenic Oesophageal diverticula.svg
The 3 classifications of esophageal diverticula. 1-Pharyngeal (Zenker's) 2-Midesophageal 3-Epiphrenic

Human pathology

Gastrointestinal tract diverticula

  1. Pharyngeal (Zenker's) diverticula usually occur in the elderly, through Killian's triangle above the cricopharyngeal muscle.
  2. Midesophageal diverticula
  3. Epiphrenic diverticula are due to dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter, as in achalasia. [5]
Histopathology of the gallbladder, showing a false diverticulum (larger than a Rokitansky-Aschoff sinus). It is not true, as the muscularis layer is essentially absent over the diverticulum rather than bulging outward. Histopathology of a false diverticulum of the gallbladder.jpg
Histopathology of the gallbladder, showing a false diverticulum (larger than a Rokitansky–Aschoff sinus). It is not true, as the muscularis layer is essentially absent over the diverticulum rather than bulging outward.

Most of these pathological types of diverticula are capable of harboring an enterolith. If the enterolith stays in place, it may cause no problems, but a large enterolith expelled from a diverticulum into the lumen can cause obstruction. [13]

Genito-urinary tract diverticula

Other diverticula

See also

Related Research Articles

Urinary incontinence Uncontrolled leakage of urine

Urinary incontinence (UI), also known as involuntary urination, is any uncontrolled leakage of urine. It is a common and distressing problem, which may have a large impact on quality of life. It has been identified as an important issue in geriatric health care. The term enuresis is often used to refer to urinary incontinence primarily in children, such as nocturnal enuresis.

Diverticulitis Digestive disease caused by an inflammation of a herniating pouch (diverticulum)

Diverticulitis, specifically colonic diverticulitis, is a gastrointestinal disease characterized by inflammation of abnormal pouches—diverticula—which can develop in the wall of the large intestine. Symptoms typically include lower abdominal pain of sudden onset, but the onset may also occur over a few days. There may also be nausea; and diarrhea or constipation. Fever or blood in the stool suggests a complication. Repeated attacks may occur.

Diverticulosis Condition of having diverticula (outpocketings) in the wall of the intestine

Diverticulosis is the condition of having multiple pouches (diverticula) in the colon that are not inflamed. These are outpockets of the colonic mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses of muscle layers in the colon wall, and may be due in part to low-fiber diet prompting changes in intestinal microflora with consequent low-grade inflammation. Diverticula do not cause symptoms in most people. Diverticular disease occurs when diverticula become clinically inflamed, a condition known as diverticulitis.

Meckels diverticulum Medical condition

A Meckel's diverticulum, a true congenital diverticulum, is a slight bulge in the small intestine present at birth and a vestigial remnant of the omphalomesenteric duct. It is the most common malformation of the gastrointestinal tract and is present in approximately 2% of the population, with males more frequently experiencing symptoms.

A Zenker's diverticulum, also pharyngeal pouch, is a diverticulum of the mucosa of the human pharynx, just above the cricopharyngeal muscle. It is a pseudo diverticulum.

Urinary retention Inability to completely empty the bladder

Urinary retention is an inability to completely empty the bladder. Onset can be sudden or gradual. When of sudden onset, symptoms include an inability to urinate and lower abdominal pain. When of gradual onset, symptoms may include loss of bladder control, mild lower abdominal pain, and a weak urine stream. Those with long-term problems are at risk of urinary tract infections.

Diverticular disease is when problems occur due to diverticulosis, a condition defined by the presence of pouches in the wall of the large intestine (diverticula). This includes diverticula becoming inflamed (diverticulitis) or bleeding. Colonic perforation due to diverticular disease may be classified using the Hinchey Classification.

Hydronephrosis describes hydrostatic dilation of the renal pelvis and calyces as a result of obstruction to urine flow downstream. Alternatively, hydroureter describes the dilation of the ureter, and hydronephroureter describes the dilation of the entire upper urinary tract.

An enterolith is a mineral concretion or calculus formed anywhere in the gastrointestinal system. Enteroliths are uncommon and usually incidental findings but, once found, they require at a minimum watchful waiting. If there is evidence of complications, they must be removed. An enterolith may form around a nidus, a small foreign object such as a seed, pebble, or piece of twine that serves as an irritant. In this respect, an enterolith forms by a process similar to the creation of a pearl. An enterolith is not to be confused with a gastrolith, which helps digestion.

Blood in stool Medical condition

Blood in stool looks different depending on how early it enters the digestive tract—and thus how much digestive action it has been exposed to—and how much there is. The term can refer either to melena, with a black appearance, typically originating from upper gastrointestinal bleeding; or to hematochezia, with a red color, typically originating from lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Evaluation of the blood found in stool depends on its characteristics, in terms of color, quantity and other features, which can point to its source, however, more serious conditions can present with a mixed picture, or with the form of bleeding that is found in another section of the tract. The term "blood in stool" is usually only used to describe visible blood, and not fecal occult blood, which is found only after physical examination and chemical laboratory testing.


The urachus is a fibrous remnant of the allantois, a canal that drains the urinary bladder of the fetus that joins and runs within the umbilical cord. The fibrous remnant lies in the space of Retzius, between the transverse fascia anteriorly and the peritoneum posteriorly.

Posterior urethral valve Medical condition

Posterior urethral valve (PUV) disorder is an obstructive developmental anomaly in the urethra and genitourinary system of male newborns. A posterior urethral valve is an obstructing membrane in the posterior male urethra as a result of abnormal in utero development. It is the most common cause of bladder outlet obstruction in male newborns. The disorder varies in degree, with mild cases presenting late due to milder symptoms. More severe cases can have renal and respiratory failure from lung underdevelopment as result of low amniotic fluid volumes, requiring intensive care and close monitoring. It occurs in about one in 8,000 babies.

Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, or neurogenic bladder, refers to urinary bladder problems due to disease or injury of the central nervous system or peripheral nerves involved in the control of urination. There are multiple types of neurogenic bladder depending on the underlying cause and the symptoms. Symptoms include overactive bladder, urinary urgency, frequency, incontinence or difficulty passing urine. A range of diseases or conditions can cause neurogenic bladder including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, spina bifida, peripheral nerve damage, Parkinson's disease, or other neurodegenerative diseases. Neurogenic bladder can be diagnosed through a history and physical as well as imaging and more specialized testing. Treatment depends on underlying disease as well as symptoms and can be managed with behavioral changes, medications, surgeries, or other procedures. The symptoms of neurogenic bladder, especially incontinence, can have a significant impact on quality of life.

Urinary meatus The external urethral orifice

The urinary meatus, also known as the external urethral orifice, is the opening of the urethra. It is the point where urine exits the urethra in both sexes and where semen exits the urethra in males. The meatus has varying degrees of sensitivity to touch. The meatus is located on the glans of the penis or in the vulval vestibule.

Urethral sphincters

The urethral sphincters are two muscles used to control the exit of urine in the urinary bladder through the urethra. The two muscles are either the male or female external urethral sphincter and the internal urethral sphincter. When either of these muscles contracts, the urethra is sealed shut.

Killian–Jamieson diverticulum Medical condition

A Killian–Jamieson diverticulum is an outpouching of the esophagus just below the upper esophageal sphincter.

Gartners duct cyst Medical condition

A Gartner's duct cyst is a benign vaginal cyst that originates from the Gartner's duct, which is a vestigial remnant of the mesonephric duct in females. They are typically small asymptomatic cysts that occur along the lateral walls of the vagina, following the course of the duct. They can present in adolescence with painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) or difficulty inserting a tampon. They can also enlarge to substantial proportions and be mistaken for urethral diverticulum or cystocele. In some rare instances, they can be congenital.

A urethral diverticulum is a condition where the urethra or the periurethral glands push into the connective tissue layers (fascia) that surround it.

Adenomyomatosis Medical condition

Adenomyomatosis is a benign condition characterized by hyperplastic changes of unknown cause involving the wall of the gallbladder. Adenomyomatosis is caused by an overgrowth of the mucosa, thickening of the muscular wall, and formation of intramural diverticula or sinus tracts termed Rokitansky–Aschoff sinuses, also called entrapped epithelial crypts.

A urogenital fistula is an abnormal tract that exists between the urinary tract and bladder, ureters, or urethra. A urogenital fistula can occur between any of the organs and structures of the pelvic region. A fistula allows urine to continually exit through and out the urogenital tract. This can result in significant disability, interference with sexual activity, and other physical health issues, the effects of which may in turn have a negative impact on mental or emotional state, including an increase in social isolation. Urogenital fistulas vary in etiology. Fistulas are usually caused by injury or surgery, but they can also result from malignancy, infection, prolonged and obstructed labor and deliver in childbirth, hysterectomy, radiation therapy or inflammation. Of the fistulas that develop from difficult childbirth, 97 percent occur in developing countries. Congenital urogenital fistulas are rare; only ten cases have been documented. Abnormal passageways can also exist between the vagina and the organs of the gastrointestinal system, and these may also be termed fistulas.


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