Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
What is Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?
Small pouches called diverticula often develop within the walls of the colon, and occasionally cause pain by protruding from weak spots in the tissue that are present in the lining of the colon walls. The presence of diverticula in the colon walls is a condition known as Diverticulosis. When these diverticula become inflamed the condition often becomes much more painful and is known as Diverticulitis.
Most patients with diverticulosis have few or no symptoms. The diverticulosis in these individuals is found incidentally during tests for other intestinal problems. It has been thought as many as 20% of individuals with diverticulosis will develop symptoms related to diverticulosis, primarily diverticulitis; however, the most recent study suggests that the incidence is closer to 5%.
The most common signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Abdominal pain (left lower abdomen)
- Abdominal tenderness (left lower abdomen)
- Constipation or, sometimes, diarrhea.
Who Is At Risk?
Lack of fiber in the diet has been thought to be considered the most likely cause of diverticula, and there is a good correlation among societies around the world between the amount of fiber in the diet and the prevalence of diverticula. Nevertheless, studies have not found similar correlations between fiber and diverticuli within individual societies. Many people with diverticular disease have excessive thickening of the muscular wall of the colon where the diverticula form.
Visualization is required to complete the diagnosis either via xray, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest, changes in your diet and antibiotics. Severe or recurring diverticulitis may require surgery.