The formation of small pockets or abnormal pouches (diverticula) in the muscular wall of colon or large intestine is referred as Diverticulosis. Inflammation or infection of these bowel pouches lead to diverticulitis. Together both these conditions are known as diverticular disease.
Diverticulosis is very common, especially in old people, beyond the age of 70. Diverticulosis is usually asymptomatic but when pouches lead to diverticulitis stage, it becomes very painful and discomforting, and often requires an instant medical assistance.
Diverticulosis is usually not observed in people below 50 years of age and is observed more in old populations of Europe, North America and Australia, with less prevalence in Asia and Africa. This could be majorily due to low fibre diet consumption in western nations.
It has been observed that diverticulosis is uncommon in vegetarians who usually have high fibre consumptions. But there could be some genetic causes too for developing the diverticulosis state.
Important Diverticulosis Symptoms
Major Symptoms Observed During Diverticulosis
Usually, diverticulosis remains an asymptomatic disease, but the pouches formed in the bowel restrict the usual smooth passage of bowel movements and inturn give rise to certain symptoms.
The main symptoms that appear include flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, blood with feces and may be an anemia on repetitive episodes of bleeding.
Many of the diverticulosis symptoms are same as that observed in bowel cancer, but since diverticulosis is more common than bowel cancer, chances of one having diverticulosis is more than the bowel cancer.
Still, let the specialist assess it and analyze the symptoms, to predict correctly the underlying cause of these symptoms. Though, the symptoms appearing are common to that of bowel cancer, still diverticulosis is not associated with serious disease of bowel cancer and can be easily managed with proper fibrous diet and restricting the triggering factors.
However, if not treated on time, diverticula (pouches) formed in the bowel may get infected or inflamed, causing diverticulitis, which is considered a medical emergency.
Important Symptoms Of Diverticulitis
Symptoms include fever, distension of the abdomen, sharp and intermittent pain, majorily in the lower left abdomen, abdominal tenderness, bleeding with passage of stool, change in bowel habits, nausea and vomiting. Bleeding may stop automatically but it may become severe, if left untreated.
Complications of diverticulosis
In case, diverticulitis is not treated immediately, it may lead to certain serious complications. Certain symptoms of complicated diverticulosis are burning sensation on urination, vomiting on eating anything as no liquid or food is being tolerated anymore, persistent fever, worsening pain of abdomen, bleeding from the rectum and extended constipation phase.
A perforated bowel may form on rupturing of a weakened pouch. The contents get trapped into the formed abdominal cavity, resulting in symptoms of high fever, pain and chills.
A perforated bowel is considered to be an emergency condition that demands instant medical condition.
An untreated diverticulitis can lead to pus or abscess formation inside the abdomen.
A perforated bowel can further lead to infection of membrane linings of abdominal organs and abdominal cavity, known as peritonitis. This complication formed turns out to be life threatening.
Diverticulosis can be the cause of haemorrhage, when remain unattended. Internal bleeding from rectum may lead to haemorrhagic anemia, and may also lead to bowel cancer under intense complications.
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