Verticulitis

Verticulitis is another name for diverticulitis, a digestive condition caused by formation of diverticula (pouches) in the walls of the colon. It typically affects the   large intestine or colon where waste material  following the digestion of food in small intestine, is stored before being eliminated from body. Pressure in colon makes the tissue form bulging pockets or sacs. These sacs push out from the wall of colon as people age. The small bulging sac is what is known as diverticulum. When they are many, they are referred to as diverticula.

The condition of having the diverticula in wall of colon is known as diverticulosis. Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticulosis or formation of sacs is due to an inflammation and infection.

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Diverticulitis is the result of fecal matter getting trapped in the diverticula. The infestation leads to bacterial growth and inflammation or infection.The sacs may occur throughout the wall of colon though they are most likely to be found close to the end of the left color, which is referred to as sigmoid colon. In other geographic regions, the diverticula or sacs occur on the right side of colon. The probability of the sacs forming increases with age, but they are uncommon in people less than 40 years. A person with this condition may have no symptoms or might have a few symptoms.

Symptoms of diverticulitis

The common signs and symptoms of this condition are pain that is sudden, severe, and felt in the lower left of abdomen. A person may have less common abdominal pain, which is mild initially but gets worse over days with the possibility of getting too intense. There is change in bowel habits and the abdominal become tender.

One develops fever, nausea, and vomiting. Besides, a person with this condition experiences constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and bleeding from rectum though less common. When diverticula raptures, there are chances of bacteria found in the colon spreading into the tissue that surround the colon. This will lead to inflammation and infection thus leading to diverticulitis.

A person with inflamed diverticulum will have abdominal pain accompanied by tenderness and occasional lump that can be felt in the abdomen on the left lower side. The person has elevated white blood count, as the body responds to the infection producing more white blood cells to fight the infection. Diverticulosis shows no or few symptoms, and mostly the condition within an individual is detected incidentally when one is undergoing tests for some other intestinal problems.

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Causes

The walls of the colon may naturally develop some weak areas, which give way under pressure of the colon activity. When such weak areas succumb to the pressure, diverticula sacs develop. This leads to formation of marble sized pouches, which protrude through colon wall. Doctors are not clear of what leads to inflamed or infected diverticula but different theories have been put up to try and explain this phenomena.

The increased pressure may cause the wall to pouches to weaken and rapture thus leading to an infection. Another theory suggests that the narrow openings of the sacs or diverticula could trap fecal matter, which encourages infection by bacteria found in the colon. Alternatively, it is thought that when there is an obstruction in the diverticulum’s narrow opening, it could reduce the supply of blood in the area, something that leads to inflammation.

Previously, it was thought that foods like popcorn, seeds, and nuts contributed to diverticulitis because of being trapped in the sacs, however, research shows that these foods do not cause a perceived increased risk of suffering from diverticulitis.

Lack of fiber in a diet is the likely most common cause of diverticula. The muscular walls of colon thickens as people age, something that may be reflected as due to increasing pressure that is needed to eliminate wastes from colon. If you have a diet that is low in fiber, it might lead to hard small stools that have difficulties passing.

It requires increased pressure in order to pass such small stools. The less amount of fiber in stool could cause some segments of colon to close off from the other part when the colonic muscle contracts. In those closed segments, the pressure may increase since it cannot dissipate or disperse to other parts of colon, and with time, it pushes the wall in weak areas thus leading to formation of diverticula.

Many people who have diverticulosis disease tend to grow excessive muscular wall that thickness. The muscles in people with diverticular disease also tend to contract strong. These abnormalities could be associated with the formation of the sacs.

Treatment

The treatment of both diverticulosis and diverticulitis entails use of medication to reduce the abdominal pain caused by the muscle spasms. Infections in the sacs are treated with oral antibiotics. Patients are advised to have liquid or low fiber foods when the diverticulitis is acute and has intense pain.

Nonetheless, most of the people with minimal or no symptoms may not require medication and could be advised to change their diet component to include a normal fiber diet to help prevent constipation that could lead to more diverticula or sacs forming. A surgery may be needed if one has a perforation or recurring diverticulitis.

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