Diverticuli develop within the intestinal tract. These are small pouches that occur in the wall of the colon. Frequently, this disorder may not produce any symptoms at all. Diverticulitis is the inflammation or infection of the diverticuli. Diverticuli are typically present in 30% to 40% of people over age 50 and they increase with each decade of life.
Causes of Diverticular Disease
The cause of diverticulosis is unknown. It might have a genetic component. Lack of bulk in the diet may also contribute to the formation of diverticuli. Diverticulitis occurs when the small outpouchings become inflamed or infected. This is probably the result of undigested food and bacteria lodging in these diverticuli. This mass of material compromises the blood supply to the diverticulum. The tissue become damaged and more prone to invasion from bacteria. An abscess can form or the sac can rupture, leading to infection of the abdominal cavity, peritonitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Diverticular Disease
Diverticulosis is the development of multiple small pouches that project outwards from the wall of the large intestine, or colon. Usually, this condition does not produce any symptoms. Sometimes, diverticulosis may be associated with cramping or tenderness in the left side of the abdomen that is relieved by passing gas or moving bowels. Occasionally, it can lead to blood in the stool or rectum as well as constipation. Diverticulitis produces symptoms much more commonly. These inflamed or infected diverticuli produce abdominal pain, mostly in the left lower abdomen, fever and chills, nausea and tenderness over the part of the colon that is affected.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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