Causes of Diverticular Disease

This ailment is more profound in the western culture. It is labeled as the “Western Society Disease” because of their lack of fiber in their daily diet and eating too much refined and processed foods. With this, during bowel movement, their stools needed to be pushed with such high pressures, constipation as they call it, diverticular disease develops in the left colon which over a period forces the mucosa through the muscle wall along with small blood vessels.


This was first discovered and studied in 1849, its recognition increased with the development of the barium enema in the early 1900's. The disease was rare then for people running the age of 30 years and above. Right now, thirty-three percent of the western population over the age of 60 and 50 percent of those aged between 80 and 90 years have diverticulosis. Females are more often attacked by this disease than males.


With the increase pressure or constipation in the bowel, this is often times with gas and spasms. Diverticula contains a firm spherical pellet of faeces or faecolith which blocks and stays indefinitely in the "pocket". Faecolith is the main cause of irritation and inflammation which, then, leads to an abscess in the wall of the colon. Which in turn can cause acute abdominal infection (peritonitis) or compression of the colon (stricture), or tunnel in going to another organ (fistula) such as bladder, bowel or vagina.

The huge majority of patients suffering from diverticular disease experience no symptoms. For those patients experiencing symptoms such as constipation may be due to spasm or chronic obstruction. It is called symptomatic diverticular disease for that matter. Diverticulitis due to inflammation can vary in degrees. A few days of being unwell with continues pain in the left lower abdomen and fever, to an emergency abdominal situation requiring urgent operation. The disease may be a destruction in progress, leading to a chronic pelvic abscess, a contraction or stricture of the colon or a fistula, discharging infection and gas into the bladder or vagina. Chronic bleeding is uncommon in diverticular disease but occasionally a hemorrhage from the colon may force the patient to be taken to the hospital. Most patients that experience this, the bleeding stops without surgical intervention.

Diverticular disease can promptly be diagnosed by barium enema or endoscopy flexible colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Difficulty shows in deciding whether uncomplicated diverticular disease is the reason of symptoms. Similar symptoms can be caused by intestine cramp without diverticula. Complications and other related conditions can normally be detected by clinical testing and the above tests. Diverticular disease does not lead to cancer but either disease usually occurs in the left colon. In some patients the aberration of the colon and clinical features can mimic colon cancer and diagnosis can simply be made after removing the irregular intestine.

For patients with asymptomatic or mild disease, a high fibre diet is recommended. A stool laxative or motility medication is usually enough to treat this. When an attack of inflammation occurs a short regimen of antibiotics and a bland diet will usually ease the symptoms in a couple of days. A serious attack will require admission in the hospital. If emergency procedure is needed it will normally need removal of the stricken region of the colon and a colostomy is often recommended. Patients treated electively (non urgent) by medical procedure normally have the diseased region removed without a temporary colostomy. It is really uncommon for a patient to undergo permanent colostomy. Bowel function and general health returns to natural after procedure and recurrence of symptomatic diverticular disease or complications are likely uncommon. Only a tiny amount of patients need postoperative handling compared with the amount of patients who have diverticulosis of the colon.

Treatment of Diverticulitis

"About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis."

Diverticulitis Diet

A low-residue diet is recommended during the flare-up periods of diverticulitis to decrease bowel volume so that the infection can heal. An intake of less than 10 grams of fiber per day is generally considered a low residue diverticulitis diet. If you have been on a low-residue diet for an extended period of time, your doctor may recommend a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.