Diverticulitis occurs when pouches form in the wall of the colon. These are small bulging pouches that can form anywhere in one's digestive system including the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Doctors are unclear as to what causes diverticula in the colon but they suspect that a low fibre diet may play a role. Without the fibre to add bulk to the stool, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward. Thus, the pressure from this may cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon.
The symptoms and signs may last from a few hours to a week or more and they include:
• Bloating and gas
• Pain that is sudden, severe and located in the lower left side of the abdomen
• Fever and chills
• Nausea and sometimes vomiting
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Changes in bowel movement
The factors that can increase one's chances of getting diverticulitis include:
• Too little fibre
• Being over 40
• Lack of exercise
Treatment for this condition depends on how bad one's symptoms are and whether one has an infection. You can prevent diverticulitis if you drink plenty of fluids, get regular exercise and eat a high fibre diet. Contact your doctor if you have any symptoms of diverticulitis!