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Encyclopedia > Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis, otherwise known as "diverticular disease", is the condition of having diverticula in the large colon which are outpocketings of the colonic mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses of muscle layers in the colon wall. These are more common in the sigmoid colon, which is a common place for increased pressure. This is uncommon before the age of 40 and increases in incidence after that age. Diverticula are outpouchings of the intestinal wall. ... Colon has several meanings: colon (anatomy) colon (punctuation) colon (rhetoric) See also Colón This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

Contents

Epidemiololgy

About 10% of the US population over the age of 40 and half over the age of 60 has diverticulosis. This disease is common in the US, England, Australia, Canada, and is uncommon in Asia and Africa. It is the most common cause for bleeding in US adults over the age of 40 years.


Causes

Diverticuli are thought to be caused by increased pressure within the lumen of the colon. Constipation is the most common cause of diverticulosis. Increased intra-colonic pressure secondary to the constipation leads to weaknesses in the colon walls giving way to diverticula. Other causes may include a colonic spasm which increases pressure, which may be due to dehydration or low fiber diets (merck manual online 2005); although this may also be due to constipation. Fiber causes stools to retain more water and become easier to pass (either soluble or insoluble fiber will do this). A diet withough fiber makes the stools small, requiring the bowel to squeeze harder to remove the smaller stool. Summarizing the risk factors from this and the introduction: low-fiber/high-fat diet, increasing age, constipating conditions, and connective tissue disorders which may cause weakness in the colon wall (ex. Marfan syndrome). In anatomy, the lumen is the cavity or channel within a tube or tubular structure, such as the vascular lumen of a blood vessel, along which blood flows. ... Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where a person (or other animal) experiences difficulty in eliminating feces. ... Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder, affecting many structures, including the skeleton, lungs, eyes, heart and blood vessels. ...


Symptoms

Often this disorder has no symptoms. The most common is bleeding (variable amounts), bloating, pain/cramping after meals or otherwise often in the Left Lower Abdomen, and changes in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation). First time bleeding from the rectum should be followed up with a physician, especially if over age 40 because the possibility of colon cancer. Symptoms of anemia may present: fatigue, light-headedness, or shortness of breath. Diagram of the stomach, colon, and rectum Colorectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. ... Anemia (American English) or anaemia (Commonwealth English), which literally means without blood, is a lack of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin. ...


Testing

Colonoscopy is the most used test for diagnosis. This is important for treatment and investigation of other diseases. Other tests in include Abdominal X-ray, barium enema, CT, or MRI. Colonoscopy is the minimally invasive endoscopic examination of the large colon and the distal part of the small bowel with a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. ... In the NATO phonetic alphabet, X-ray represents the letter X. An X-ray picture (radiograph) taken by Röntgen An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength approximately in the range of 5 pm to 10 nanometers (corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 PHz... A barium enema, also called a lower gastrointestinal series, is a medical procedure used to examine and dignose problems with the human large intestines. ... CT or ct may stand for: carat (ct) centimes (ct) computed tomography (e. ... For other meanings see Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). ...


Complications

Infection of a diverticulum can result in diverticulitis. This occurs in 10-25% of persons with diverticulitis (NIDDK website). Tears in the colon leading to bleeding or perforations may occur, intestinal obstruction may occur (constipation or diarrhea does not rule this possibility out), peritonitis, abscess formation, retroperitoneal fibrosis, sepsis, and fistula formation. Diverticulitis is a common disease of the bowel, the main part of the large intestine. ... An abscess is a collection of pus collected in a cavity formed by the tissue on the basis of an infectious process (usually caused by bacteria or parasites) or other foreign materials (e. ... Retroperitoneal is an anatomical term that refers to the relationship of the contents of the abdominal cavity to the peritoneal space. ... Fibrosis is the formation or development of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ or tissue as a reparative or reactive process, as opposed to formation of fibrous tissue as a normal constituent of an organ or tissue. ... Sepsis (in Greek Σήψις, putrefaction) is a serious medical condition caused by a severe systemic infection leading to a systemic inflammatory response. ... In medicine, a fistula (pl. ...


Infection of a diverticulum often occurs as a result of stool collecting in a diverticulum.


Treatment

Often none is needed. Increases in hydration, increasing fiber content in the diet (ADA recommends 20-35 grams each day), or removing factors resulting in constipation help decrease the incidence of new diverticuli or possibly keep they from bursting or becoming inflammed (ADA website). Fiber supplements may aid if diet is inadequate. If the diverticuli is really large (greater than 1 inch), often infected (see diverticulitis, or has uncontrollable bleeding, surgery can be performed to decrease relapse or other complications. The NIDDK says foods such as nuts, popcorn hulls, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, caraway seeds, and sesame seeds should be avoided because they may irritate diverticuli. The seeds in tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries, and poppy seeds, are not considered harmful by the NIDDK. Treatments, like some colon cleansers, that cause hard stools, constipation, and straining are not recommended. Dietary fibers are long-chain carbohydrates (polysaccharides) that are indigestible by the human digestive tract. ... Dietary fibers are long-chain carbohydrates (polysaccharides) that are indigestible by the human digestive tract. ... Diverticulitis is a common disease of the bowel, the main part of the large intestine. ...


External links

  • National Institude of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases website NIH Publication No. 04–1163 dated August 2004, no e-copyright (http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/)
  • Merck Manuel online (http://www.merckmanuel.com)
  • J. American Diet Assoc. 2002;102:993-1000 (http://www.eatright.org)
  • Nature's Platform (http://www.naturesplatform.com/health_benefits.html) Health Benefits of the Natural Squatting Position

  Results from FactBites:
 
Diverticulosis- Health Encyclopedia and Reference (991 words)
Diverticulosis is a condition where pockets (pouches) form in the large intestine (colon).
Diverticulosis is rare before the age of 40, but the likelihood of developing this condition increases with passing decades.
Diverticulosis is often unsuspected and discovered by an x-ray or intestinal examination performed for an unrelated reason.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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