Diverticula are small, bulging sacs which can develop in any part of the digestive system such as the stomach, small intestine and esophagus. They occur most commonly in the large intestine or colon. Diverticulitis is said to occur when there is severe inflammation of the diverticula, which may cause them to rupture, resulting in possible infection of surrounding tissue.

The muscular intestinal wall becomes thicker as a person ages, largely because of the excess pressure the colon must exert during bowel movements. Over a period of time, this pressure pushes the wall lining outwards through weak spots in the intestinal wall. This leads to the formation of pouches known as diverticula. Diverticula usually occur in people above the age of 40 years. Those who have diverticula are diagnosed as having diverticulosis. In many cases, you may not be aware of the presence of these pouches, as they don’t always cause observable symptoms. If complications like diverticulitis do develop however, then you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits and fever. Milder cases of the disease usually improve with adequate rest, medication and dietary changes. Serious cases may require surgery.

Frequently asked questions
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