Understanding Diverticular Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options (diverticulosis & diverticulitis)

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Introduction to diverticular disease

Diverticular disease is a common digestive condition that affects many people, especially older adults. In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this condition.

What is Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular disease refers to two conditions, diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

Diverticulosis is a condition where small, bulging pouches called diverticula form in the lining of the digestive tract, usually in the colon.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 10 percent of people over the age of 40 have diverticulosis, and by the age of 60, about half of all adults will have the condition.

Diverticulitis, on the other hand, is a condition where the diverticula become inflamed or infected. This can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, about 4 percent of people with diverticulosis will develop diverticulitis.


Causes of Diverticular Disease

Risk Factors for Diverticular Disease Diverticular disease can develop due to several reasons such as a low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, and obesity. The condition is also more common in people who smoke and those who take certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


Symptoms of Diverticular Disease:

Signs and Symptoms of Diverticulitis Diverticulosis doesn't usually cause symptoms, but it can lead to complications such as diverticulitis, abscesses, and bowel obstruction. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and changes in bowel habits.


Treatment for Diverticular Disease:

Managing Diverticular Disease

Treatment for diverticular disease may include dietary changes such as:
  • increasing fiber intake
  • medications to manage symptoms
  • and in some cases, surgery.
If you have diverticulitis, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and recommend a clear liquid diet to help your colon rest. As the inflammation subsides, you can gradually reintroduce solid foods to your diet

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