Welcome to Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is a condition that develops in the large intestine. This condition is uncommon among people below the age of 40. Around 10% of Americans over 40 years old and around half of all people who are over 60 years old have diverticlosis. Most of the time it is asymptomatic but when symptoms are present, the condition is called diverticular disease. Additionally, it may only be discovered after tests and investigations for a different medical problem are done.

Diverticulosis was first discovered in the early part of the 20th century as processed foods were introduced into the diets of millions of people. Many of the processed foods consisted of low-fiber, refined flour that contained no wheat bran. As more and more people relied on processed foods, the intake of fiber-rich foods decreased significantly. A low-fiber diet is widely believed to be the main cause of diverticulosis although it has not been proven.

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Risk Factors of Diverticulosis

There are many factors that may increase the risk of developing this type of condition. As mentioned earlier, this condition is common among people over 40 years of age. After the age 40, it will increase in incidence. Other risk factors include a high intake of meat, especially red meat, a diet that is high in fat or low in dietary fiber, constipation, and connective tissue disorders that can cause weakness in the large intestine.

Causes

The causes of this condition are not yet completely understood. However, physicians believe that the pouches develop when high pressure presses against the colonic wall. When a person’s diet lacks fiber, the stool becomes small and hard, making it difficult for it to move. Additional pressure is usually needed for the stool to finally move.

Complications

Diverticulosis can lead to bleeding, infections, perforations or tears, or blockages. These complications always require treatment to prevent them from progressing and causing serious illness.