What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a disorder that comes from diverticulosis, which is characterized by small, bulging pouches in the digestive tract.
These pouches are called diverticula, and they are common in the U.S. Over half of the population older than 60 years of age have them. The pouches don't always cause problems and people often don't even know they are there.
However, the pouches sometimes can become inflamed or infected. This can cause pain in the abdomen, fever, nausea, and changes in bowel habits. Diverticulitis is present when the diverticula become infected. Cases can range from mild to severe, and the milder cases can be treated with rest, diet alterations and antibiotic medications. The more serious cases can require surgery to remove the affected part of the colon.
The good news is that most people with diverticulosis do not develop diverticulitis. The condition can be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet, including foods that are high in fiber.
Symptoms that are common of diverticulitis include:
Pain in the abdomen and lower right side
Diarrhea and constipation.
Other signs considered less common are:
Pain while urinating.
But what causes the diverticula to appear in the first place?
Usually, diverticula are formed when there are weak places in the colon that give way under pressure. Then, the pouches, about the size of a marble, protrude through the colon wall. Pressure in the colon can lead to infection of the diverticula.