Diverticulosis – Causes and Symptoms of Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is a medical condition in which pouches (diverticula) develop along the wall of the colon. The pouches grow up-to a diameter of 0.25in or large. These pouches bulge outwards and are known as diverticula. It has been studied that 10% of Americans above the age 40 suffer from diverticulosis. The risk of the condition increases as the person ages. Diverticulitis is another condition in which these pouches become inflamed. These two conditions together are called diverticular disease. The causes, symptoms and diagnosis of diverticulosis are discussed in the below article.

Causes of Diverticulosis

The exact cause for the development of diverticula (pouches) in the colon is not known till date. It has been thought that diverticula form when high pressure inside the colon pushes against the colon wall.

Normally, a diet with adequate fiber produces bulky stools that can be easily passed along the colon.  But a diet low in fiber produces hard stools. The colon hence, exerts more pressure to move out the stools. The stools moreover remain in the bowel for more time, thus, adding extra pressure. This high pressure leads to pouches formation on the wall of colon.

Symptoms of Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis cause few or no symptoms in the affected people. The disease condition thus, cannot be diagnosed easily. The most common symptoms of diverticulosis are as follows:

  • Severe abdominal cramping usually on the lower left side
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • Impaired bowel function
  • Nausea and fever
  • Abscess i.e formation of pus in the pelvis
  • Diverticulitis i.e inflammation of pouches
  • Infection of abdominal cavity
  • Obstruction of colon
  • Bleeding from colon
  • Bleeding from rectum

Some milder Symptoms of Diverticulosis:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Bloating

Diagnosis of Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is diagnosed only through performing certain tests. The diagnostic tests include:

  • Barium enema test in which barium creates a sharp image of digestive tract on the X-ray.
  • Colonoscopy in which a thin camera with a lighted end is used to view the colon.
  • Computed tomography scan to diagnose acute diverticulosis.

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