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Diverticula are small pouches that bulge outward through the colon, or large intestine. If you have these pouches, you have a condition called diverticulosis. It becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over age 60 have it. Doctors believe the main cause is a low-fiber diet.

Most people with diverticulosis don't have symptoms. Sometimes it causes mild cramps, bloating or constipation. Diverticulosis is often found through tests ordered for something else. For example, it is often found during a colonoscopy to screen for cancer. A high-fiber diet and mild pain reliever will often relieve symptoms.

If the pouches become inflamed or infected, you have a condition called diverticulitis. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, usually on the left side. You may also have fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation. In serious cases, diverticulitis can lead to bleeding, tears, or blockages. Your doctor will do a physical exam and imaging tests to diagnose it. Treatment may include antibiotics, pain relievers, and a liquid diet. A serious case may require a hospital stay or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following features are indicative of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • mild cramps
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain on the left side
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • bleeding
  • tears
  • blockages
It is possible that Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following are the most common causes of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • intake of low-fiber diet
  • heredity
  • use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • lack of physical exercises
  • obesity
  • cigarette smoking

Risk Factors for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • younger and older age
  • constipation
  • intake low fiber diet
  • connective tissue disorders that may cause weakness in the colon wall
  • hereditary or genetic predisposition
  • extreme weight loss
  • heavy meat consumption

Prevention of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

No, it is not possible to prevent Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis. Prevention may not be possible for the following reasons:
  • mutation in COL5A1 or COL5A2 genes

Occurrence of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • Physical exam: To detect signs and symptoms of diverticular disease and tenderness of abdomen
  • Blood and urine tests: To check for the signs of infections
  • Pregnancy test: To detect pregnancy as a cause of abdominal pain
  • Liver function tests: To find out causes of abdominal pain
  • Stool test: To diagnose infection in people suffering with diarrhea
  • CT scan: To diagnose diverticular disease

Doctor for Diagnosis of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • Gastroenterologist

Complications of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis if untreated

Yes, Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis is left untreated:
  • abscess
  • blockage in the colon or small intestine
  • fistula between sections of bowel
  • peritonitis

Procedures for Treatment of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following procedures are used to treat Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • Primary bowel resection: Allows you to have normal bowel movements
  • Bowel resection with colostomy: Helps in passing the bowel

Self-care for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • Exercise regularly: Promotes the normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside your colon
  • Eat more fiber: Helps in passing the waste easily from your colon
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Absorbs water and increasing the soft, bulky waste in your colon

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
  • Probiotics use: Prevent diverticulitis by providing beneficial bacteria

Time for Treatment of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 week

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis.

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