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Information for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis defined is a common disease of the bowel, in particular the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon.  Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.

Explained: Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire.  Each pouch is called a diverticulum.  Pouches (plural) are called diverticula.  The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis.  About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis.  The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis.

When the pouches become infected or inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis.  This happens in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis.  Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are also called diverticular disease.

A recent study found that a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and probiotic worked better in recovery from diverticulitis than either treatment alone (International Journal of Colorectal Disease, online March 28, 2007).

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Learn About The Complications Associated with Diverticular Disease

Diverticulitis Symptoms

Causes of Diverticulitis

  • Hereditary: Parents or siblings that have a history of diverticulitis may cause other members to inherit the disease.
  • Obesity: Being obese has a lot of risk factors, this may also be the cause.
  • Lack of physical exercise: Unhealthy or unfit lifestyles may cause the disease.
  • Smoking: There are research that suggest smoking as a risk.
  • Certain medications: Anti inflammatory drugs are known to cause risks.
  • Lack of vitamin D: Persons with lower amounts of vitamin D are more prone to having diverticulitis.
  • Sex: Women at the age of 50 are at risk while men under 50 are also most likely to have this.