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All about diverticular disease causes of diverticular disease symptoms of diverticular disease diagnosis of diverticular disease complications of diverticular disease treatment for diverticular disease high fiber diet for diverticular diseases diverticulitis complications of diverticulitis causes of diverticulitis symtoms of diverticulitis diagnosis of diverticulitis treatments for diverticulitis diverticulitis surgery diverticulosis causes of diverticulosis symptoms of diverticulosis complications of diverticulosis diagnosing diverticulosis treatment of diverticulosis

What causes diverticular disease?

Diverticular disease essentially results from eating a diet with too little fiber. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Fiber itself is not digested. It passes through the intestines pretty much unchanged, softening the stools and their passage. Lack of fiber begins a sequence of events:

Without fiber, the stools are dry and small, and the intestinal muscles must contract with greater force to pass the stools along, generating a higher pressure in the large intestines. The excess pressure leads to weak spots in the colon walls that eventually bulge out and form pouches called diverticula.


Existing weakness in the colon walls-either from age or, in younger people, or from collagen disorders like Marfan's syndrome-also contribute to the development of diverticula. Most often, the pouches form in the sigmoid colon, which is the lower left part of the colon that connects to the rectum. This area of the colon is subject to the highest amount of pressure because it is the narrowest portion of the large intestine. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, jelly-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes almost unchanged through the intestines. Both kinds of fiber help make stools soft and easy to pass, which helps to prevent constipation.

Constipation is the main cause of increased pressure in the colon, making the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. The excess pressure caused by the straining makes the weak spots in the colon bulge out, forming diverticula.

There is a familial tendency to diverticulosis suggesting a genetic factor. An inherited tendency to raised pressure in the bowel has not yet been associated with a gene. It may be that these families share a common environmental factor increasing their susceptibility to high intra-bowel pressure.

The relatively high prevalence of diverticula in an aging Western population compared with the low prevalence in developing countries with a high vegetable diet supports the current theory that a diet low in plant products is a factor in the pressure changes needed to produce diverticula. This is the most generally discussed cause of diverticular disease providing the basis for much of the advice given to reduce the prevalence of diverticular disease as well as the management of established diverticular disease.

Some foods and drugs are strong stimulants of bowel muscle action and may be an aggravating factor. Such foods include spices, fats and some sauces. The importance of emotional stress is unresolved. While not strongly favoured as a cause, it may be an aggravating factor that cannot be completely excluded as a cause. Physicians do not know what causes the infection that causes diverticulitis, but believe it may begin when stool or bacteria are caught in the diverticula.

More information on diverticular disease

What is diverticular disease? - Diverticular disease is a condition in which small pouches, called diverticula, develop in the wall of the colon, or large intestine.
What causes diverticular disease? - Diverticular disease essentially results from eating a diet with too little fiber. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest.
What are the symptoms of diverticular disease? - The major symptoms of diverticular disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramps, alteration of bowel habit and occasionally, severe rectal bleeding.
How is diverticular disease diagnosed? - A complete diagnostic work-up for diverticular disease including colonoscopy, and radiological examinations are the basic tools for initial investigation.
What are the complications of diverticular disease? - Complications of diverticulosis include bleeding, infection, perforation, abscess fistula formation, and obstruction.
What is the treatment for diverticular disease? - The only treatment for mild diverticulosis is to increase fiber in the diet. For diverticulitis, antibiotics will be prescribed.
High fiber diet for diverticular diseases - Good sources of fiber for diverticular diseases include whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and a dietary supplement of fiber products.
What is diverticulitis? - Diverticulitis is a common condition in which abnormal pouches (diverticula) in the wall of the colon become inflamed.
What are the complications of diverticulitis? - Complications of diverticulitis may include a blockage in colon, an abscess or a fistula. Peritonitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care.
What causes diverticulitis? - Diverticulitis can only occur in people who have diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is more common in people who have a low intake of fiber in their diets.
What're the symtoms of diverticulitis? - Symptoms of diverticulitis are due to the muscle abnormality and consist of pain, often abdominal distension, an irregular bowel habit with pellet-like stools.
How is diverticulitis diagnosed? - Diverticulitis is suspected after a history and physical examination. Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed during an acute attack.
What are the treatments for diverticulitis? - Treatment of diverticulitis depends on the severity of symptoms and whether this is a first attack of diverticulitis.
What's the diverticulitis surgery? - Emergency surgery is necessary for people whose intestine has ruptured; intestinal rupture always results in infection of the abdominal cavity.
What is diverticulosis? - Diverticulosis is a condition in which small outpouchings of the colon wall develop through time. Diverticula may develop anywhere in the large intestine.
What causes diverticulosis? - A low fibre diet can lead to small, hard stools which are difficult to pass. The pouches that develop are called diverticula.
What are the symptoms of diverticulosis? - Diverticulosis do not have any signs or symptoms. Diverticulosis can sometimes cause unexplained painful cramps, diarrhea or other bowel movement disturbances.
What are the complications of diverticulosis? - Diverticulitis can lead to complications such as infections, perforations or tears, blockages, or bleeding.
How is diverticulosis diagnosed? - Diverticulosis is suspected when symptoms such as unexplained painful cramps, diarrhea or other bowel movement disturbances, or rectal bleeding are present.
What is the treatment for diverticulosis? - The goal of treatment for diverticulosis is usually to reduce intestinal spasms, which is best achieved by maintaining a high-fiber diet (which consists of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) and drinking plenty of fluids. 
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