Causes of Diverticulitis

Diverticula occur when the wall lining gets pushed through weak areas in the intestinal wall. The exact causes of Diverticulitis are not clear. It is possible that the intestinal wall weakens due to increased pressure in the colon. It is also possible that fecal matter may get lodged in the tiny openings of the diverticula and lead to infection. Another theory is that a blockage in the opening of a diverticulum may restrict the blood flow to the area, thereby triggering inflammation. Previously, doctors believed that tiny, hard foods like nuts and seeds became lodged in the diverticula and caused infection. But new research has indicated that such foods do not play a role in the occurrence of diverticulitis.

There are some risk factors of diverticulitis that can increase a person’s chances of developing the disease. These include the following:

  • Age: People above the age of 40 are more susceptible to diverticulitis. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it may be associated with reduced strength of the colon wall.
  • Low Intake of Fiber: Diverticulitis is known to be more common in countries where the fiber intake is low. Statistical data shows that the disease surfaced after steel rolling mills came into existence. These mills considerably lowered the fiber content in grains.
  • No Exercise: Lack of, or inadequate exercise may be linked to the development of diverticula.
  • Obesity: People who are obese may be at a higher risk of developing diverticulitis.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking is known to make a person more susceptible to diverticulitis.

Frequently asked questions
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