Diverticula means small pouches or sac and diverticulosis is a condition in which pouches (5 to 10 millimeters in diameter) develop in the wall of the GI tract. Although they can develop anywhere but are more common on the left side of the large intestine, the area known as the descending and sigmoid colon. These pouches generally do not cause any symptoms and may remain undiagnosed till the symptoms like pain occur due to diverticular disease or diverticulitis.
What causes diverticulosis?
Although the exact cause of diverticulosis is not known, but following are believed to contribute in its development:
- Abnormal contraction and spasm (resulting in intermittent high pressure in the colon that pushes against weak spots to make a pouch)
- Low fiber diets
- Genetic predisposition
What are the symptoms?
Most of the people with diverticulosis remain asymptomatic and it may take several years for diverticulosis to show symptoms like:
- Pain or discomfort in the left lower abdomen
- Change in bowel habits
Diagnosis of Diverticulosis
In most the cases, diverticulosis is discovered only when tests are performed to find the cause of a different medical problem or during a screening examination:
- X ray
- Barium enema
- CT scan
Treatment of Diverticulosis
In general, the best way to treat diverticulosis is by avoiding constipation. Other than this, treatment is given to reduce the formation of new pouches (diverticula) and lower the risk for diverticulitis.