Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.
Patients often present with the classic triad of left lower quadrant pain, fever, and leukocytosis (an elevation of the white cell count in blood tests). Patients may also complain of nausea or diarrhea; others may be constipated.
Less commonly, an individual with diverticulitis may present with right-sided abdominal pain. This may be due to the less prevalent right-sided diverticula or a very redundant sigmoid colon.
Diverticulitis most often affects middle-aged and elderly persons, though it can strike younger patients as well. Central obesity may be associated with diverticulitis in younger patients, with some being as young as 20 years old.
In Western countries, diverticular disease most commonly involves the sigmoid colon - section 4 - (95% of patients). The prevalence of diverticular disease has increased from an estimated 10% in the 1920s to between 35 and 50% by the late 1960s. 65% of those currently 85 years of age and older can be expected to have some form of diverticular disease of the colon.
Less than 5% of those aged 40 years and younger may also be affected by diverticular disease.
Left-sided diverticular disease (involving the sigmoid colon) is most common in the West, while right-sided diverticular disease is more prevalent in Asia and Africa. Among patients with diverticulosis, 10–25% patients will go on to develop diverticulitis within their lifetimes.
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, then nausea, vomiting, feeling hot while having no fever, cramping, and constipation may occur as well. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the infection and complications. Diverticulitis worsens throughout the day, as it starts as small pains and slowly turns into vomiting and sharp pains.
Most people with diverticulosis do not have any discomfort or symptoms; however, symptoms may include mild cramps, bloating, and constipation. Other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and stomach ulcers cause similar problems, so these symptoms do not always mean a person has diverticulosis.
This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article on
All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.