Colon is concerned with the storage and elimination of waste materials from the body. Overtime, the tissues of colon wall thicken, which leads to the development of small pouches along the lining of colon. These pouches are called diverticula and the condition is accordingly termed as diverticulosis. Diverticula can be found throughout the colon lining, however, they are more common in the left or sigmoid colon. Diverticulosis is a common colon disease amongst the older population. In fact, 50% people over 60 years of age in the United States are affected by diverticulosis. When any of these diverticula ruptures, and becomes infected, the condition is then termed as diverticulitis.
As mentioned above, diverticulosis is pretty common in older population, including men and women. Diverticulitis in women is mostly common in western countries than Africa and Asia. The formation of diverticula rarely produces any symptoms. And even if it does, the symptoms are not exclusively specific to this condition. As a result, this condition often goes unnoticed. However, diverticulitis indeed produces certain specific symptoms, which can directly point to this disease. Abdominal pain and abdominal tenderness are some of its symptoms. When the diverticula ruptures, some amount of bleeding may occur. This is called diverticula bleeding. Woman affected by infected diverticula may develop fever as one of the symptoms. Lower abdominal cramps are also common in people affected by this disease. Besides, the person may experience alternate bouts of constipation and diarrhea. In short, you can say that the symptoms of diverticulitis are more or less similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
The aforementioned symptoms are not of severe consequence and generally, do not alter the lifespan of a person. However, in rarest of rare cases, complication from diverticulitis may occur. Peritonitis is one such severe complication originating from ruptured diverticula. In this, the infection from the diverticula spreads to the abdominal cavity. An abscess in the pelvis is yet another serious complication of diverticulitis. In this condition, there is pus formation around the ruptured diverticula. Besides, there is also a possibility of bladder infection, if the infected diverticula causes erosion of the urinary tract. Passing of gas during urination along with painful urination is one of the symptoms of infected bladder. Oftentimes, diverticula bleeding can be detected in stool, when large blood clots are passed through rectum.
Surgery is the only way out if diverticulitis becomes severe. However, diverticulosis can be controlled with the help of proper diet. Diverticulitis in young women especially, can be controlled with healthy diet and bowel habits. Eating a fiber-rich diet is the most effective remedy for all bowel diseases. Those living with diverticulitis should consume at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber everyday, and opt for a special diverticulitis diet. Even people who do not have diverticulitis should be aware of diverticulosis symptoms and foods to avoid with the same. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water everyday. Water and high-fiber diet can take care of all your bowel-related problems. If you are affected by constipation, make sure you do not strain yourself too much. Occasional use of laxatives under medical supervision may help to relieve constipation. Natural colon cleansers may also help in improving the health of colon.
If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms of this medical condition, do not hesitate to get a colon examination done from your doctor. Early detection of this disease may help you to make the necessary dietary changes and control the advancement of the disease.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.