Diverticulosis is a medical condition that affects the large intestine. With this condition, small pouches or bulges develop in the wall of the large intestine, most commonly in the lower part of the colon. It is a very common disorder among adults in Western countries, and particularly common in people over the age of 40.
Symptoms of Diverticulosis
Often, people with diverticulosis don’t experience any symptoms and can go undiagnosed for years. When symptoms do show, they tend to include:
- Abdominal Pain: Those with diverticulosis may experience pain that is localized to the left side of the abdomen. This is because the pouches that form in the large intestine primarily occur on the left side of the lower colon.
- Constipation: It is important to note that this is not the only cause of constipation, but can certainly be an underlying factor.
- Diarrhea: As with constipation, diarrhea can be a symptom, though it’s important to note that it is not the only cause.
- Hemorrhaging: This generally occurs when the pouches become infected or perforated. It is one of the more serious symptoms and should be evaluated immediately.
- Bloating: This can be a common symptom associated with diverticulosis.
Causes of Diverticulosis
The exact cause of diverticulosis is unknown, but there are a few theories as to why it occurs:
- Low-fiber diet: Diets low in fiber can cause stools to become dry and hard, which can lead to obstructed bowel movements. As a result, pressure can build up in the intestines, and this can lead to the formation of pouches.
- Obesity: Being obese or overweight is associated with a higher risk of diverticulosis.
Treatments and Health
Treatments for diverticulosis depend largely on how severe the symptoms are and the severity of the condition. For mild cases, the condition may be managed with lifestyle and diet changes:
- Fiber supplements: Fiber can help to soften stools, reduce pressure in the intestines, and decrease the risk of complications.
- Antibiotics: If bacteria are present in the pouches, antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection.
- Surgery: For severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the pouches or blocked parts of the intestine. This is generally a last resort option and is only used if other interventions are not successful.
Overall, it is important that those with diverticulosis follow the advice of their physician in order to reduce their risk of complications. Diverticulosis should be monitored and regularly evaluated in order to ensure it is properly managed.
Stay Healthy With Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is a common condition and can often be managed with lifestyle and diet adjustments. Working with a doctor to create an individualized plan is important as it can help to improve the condition and reduce the risk of complications. If any symptoms develop, they should be evaluated by a medical professional in order to ensure proper management of the condition.