Defining Diverticulitis: What Causes This Disease?
To know more about how diverticulitis forms, you must first become familiar with the colon – the area where this disorder occurs.
The colon is the part of your large intestine responsible for removing waste from your body.
As you age, the walls of the colon, and the large intestines, weaken.
When too much pressure, such as from passing hard stools or straining during bowel movements, is placed on your colon, pouches called diverticula (singular: diverticulum) protrude from the intestinal walls. This is called diverticulosis.
Diverticulosis is usually harmless. The sacs can exist in your system without exhibiting any symptoms at all. Sometimes, only very mild symptoms are felt.
However, when the diverticula become infected with bacteria from fecal matter, diverticulosis becomes diverticulitis – an entirely different medical condition.
Diverticulitis comes with discomfort and hallmark symptoms, including abdominal pain,constipation, cramping, bloating, and in some cases, rectal bleeding – this occurs when a blood vessel near a diverticulum bursts. If not addressed or treated, diverticulitis can lead to complications.
Diverticulitis Is Becoming a Prevalent Health Condition
While still less common than diverticulosis, it cannot be denied that the incidence of diverticulitis is steadily rising.
What’s more, cases of young people getting diverticulosis and diverticulitis are also increasing. People ages 20 years old are now reporting symptoms of diverticulitis.
There is also a link between diverticulitis and low-fiber intake. People in Western countries, where diverticular disease is more prominent, consume a diet that’s mostly composed of low-fiber foods and processed products.
If this trend does not stop, then expect that the cases of diverticulitis will increase more and more. In fact, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) report says that the cost of digestive diseases has now grown to more than a billion a year.
The good news is, there is a way for you to reduce your risk of diverticulitis, and all diverticular diseases in general. And if you already have diverticulitis, there are ways to control the symptoms and reduce your risk of flare-ups.
Diverticulitis can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, but with the proper knowledge, you may be able to spare yourself from this illness.