Diverticulosis is a condition in which small sacs of intestinal lining bulge outward at weak spots. These pouches, called diverticula (diverticulum singular), are about the size of large peas and usually occur in the colon or large intestine. Occasionally they affect the small intestine, as well.
Diverticulosis is thought to be caused by a diet that is low in fiber. The use of strong laxatives and straining of the abdominal muscles from the resulting constipation causes increased pressure in the colon. This excess pressure causes the weak spots in the colon to bulge out and become diverticula.
When these pouches become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Infection may be caused by stool or bacteria getting caught in the diverticula Diverticulitis can lead to complications such as infections, perforations or tears, blockages or bleeding.
Diverticulosis affects more women than men and becomes more common with increasing age. About 10% of persons over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. Approximately 50% of persons over the age of 60 and almost all persons over the age of 80 have the condition. Diverticulitis only occurs in 10-25% of persons with diverticulosis.
Treatment usually consists of dietary and lifestyle interventions, as well as medication. Surgery is rarely necessary.
The Medifocus Guide on Diverticulosis provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of diverticulosis?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing diverticulosis?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of diverticulosis?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of diverticulosis?
What treatment options are available for the management of diverticulosis?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in diverticulosis?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for diverticulosis?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about diverticulosis?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Laparoscopic colectomy in diverticular and Crohn's disease. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2000
Insights into the pathophysiology and mechanisms of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulosis in older people. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2000
Colonic diverticular disease. Current Problems in Surgery. 2000
Intraluminal duodenal diverticulum causing acute pancreatitis: CT scan diagnosis and review of the literature. Digestive Surgery. 2000
Evidence-based surgery: diverticulitis--a surgical disease?. Langenbecks Archives of Surgery. 2000
Meckel's diverticulum. American Family Physician. 2000
Perforation of jejunal diverticulum: case report and review of literature. Connecticut Medicine. 2000
Surgical management of diverticulitis. American Surgeon. 2000
Adenocarcinoma in a mid-esophageal diverticulum. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2000
Intestinal motility in small bowel diverticulosis: a case report and review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2000
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