Diverticulosis is a disease where small pouches like herniations are formed through the entire thickness of the intestinal wall. This condition may be present anywhere in the digestive tract from the duodenum to the colon. The cause may be congenital or acquired. It is generally without any symptoms and signs till such time food particles are not trapped within the diverticulae followed by inflammation around the area. Such a condition is known as Diverticulitis. In many cases, diverticulosis is discovered only when tests are done to find the cause of a different medical problem or during a screening exam. Diverticulitis can lead to some very serious conditions if it is not detected and treated promptly. To a great extent, diverticulosis and diverticulitis can be prevented by changes in lifestyle and habits. The best way that we know of to treat such symptoms is to increase fiber in the diet. So we suggest that patients with diverticulosis consume adequate amounts of fiber, 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are also called diverticular disease. It is uncommon before the age of forty, and is seen in more than fifty percent of people over the age of sixty in the United States
The colon (large intestine) is a long tube-like structure that stores and then eliminates waste material. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Pouches (plural) are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis These defects allow the development of balloon-like sacs or outpouches - much like a bubble forming on a worn inner tube. Diverticulosis , otherwise known as " diverticular disease ", is the condition of having diverticula in the colon which are outpocketings of the colonic mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses of muscle layers in the colon wall. In diverticulosis, the pouches in the colon wall do not cause symptoms. As many as 80% of the people who have diverticulosis never realize it.Diverticulosis may not be discovered unless symptoms develop, such as in painful diverticular disease or diverticulitis . Although diverticula can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach and/or small intestine, most of these pouches form in the large intestine (colon) above the rectum. When bleeding originates from a diverticulum, it is called diverticular bleeding.A patient who suffers the consequences of harboring diverticulosis in the colon is referred to as having diverticular disease.Although diverticulosis can occur anywhere in the colon, 80% are found in the lower left side - called the sigmoid colon - because that is where the colon is the narrowest and the inner pressure the highest.
Diverticulosis means that there are pockets or projections extending out from the colon. Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire.Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left colon called the sigmoid colon.These are more common in the sigmoid colon , which is a common place for increased pressure.This is uncommon before the age of 40 and increases in incidence after that age. Because of these balloon-like projections, the sigmoid often becomes thickened and narrowed.This disorder has to be treated by a physician and fairly quickly, because if it is allowed to go [undetected], it can cause major infection inside the abdomen. But the overwhelming majority of people with diverticulosis experience only problems like slight discomfort, constipation and some excess gas in the colon.
Causes of Diverticulosis
The common Causes of Diverticulosis :
- High pressure exerted against the colon wall causes pouches of the intestinal lining to bulge outwards through small defects in the colon wall.
- Hard stools, such as those produced by a diet low in fiber or slower stool "transit time" through the colon, can further increase pressure.
- Fiber is found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils).
- Pouches may form when the high pressure pushes against weak spots in the colon where blood vessels pass through the muscle layer of the bowel wall to supply blood to the inner wall.
- Both are necessary to keep stool soft and moving easily through the digestive tract.
- Whatever the cause, the chance discovery of colonic diverticula by barium enema x-ray, colonoscopy or surgery is almost always of no significance.
- Diverticulitis is caused by inflammation, or (sometimes) a small perforation within a diverticulum. If the perforation is large, stool in the colon can spill into the abdominal cavity, causing an abscess or peritonitis.
Symptoms of Diverticulosis
Some are common Symptoms of Diverticulosis :
- Fever .
- Nausea .
- Constipation , followed by bouts of diarrhea .
- Bloating .
- Chills .
- Abdominal pain , usually in the left lower abdomen but can be anywhere.
Treatment of Diverticulosis
Here is the list of the methods for treating Diverticulosis :
- No eating or drinking - intravenous fluids are given to rest the bowel.
- Surgery, if the weakened sections of bowel wall have ruptured or become obstructed, or if the attack of infection fails to settle.
- Exercise regularly to encourage bowel function and peristalsis.
- A gradual switch to diet with increased soluble fibre (green vegetables, oat bran, and fibre supplements such as psyllium) usually leads to an improvement in bowel habit and mild symptoms.
- The long term use of a mild antibiotic is often necessary to prevent further attacks.
- Eat a high fiber diet, consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, cereals and bran.
- Additionally, adding a fiber supplement (such as Metamucil or Hydrocil) to the diet, and avoiding certain foods with small seeds, such as strawberries, raspberries, whole cranberries and nuts is helpful in treating diverticulosis.