Diverticulosis is the formation of numerous tiny pockets, or diverticula, in the lining of the bowel. Diverticula, which can range from pea-size to much larger, are formed by increased pressure on weakened spots of the intestinal walls by gas, waste, or liquid. Diverticula can form while straining during a bowel movement, such as with constipation. Diverticulosis is very common and occurs in 10% of people over age 40 and in 50% of people over age 60. Most people will have no or few symptoms from diverticula.
Symptoms: Symptoms of diverticulitis which may include: 1. Alternating diarrhea and constipation. 2. Painful cramps or tenderness in the lower abdomen. 3. Chills or fever. Diagnosis: Tests may include X-rays, CT scanning, ultrasound testing, a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and blood tests to look for signs of infection or the extent of bleeding. In people with rapid, heavy rectal bleeding, the doctor may perform a procedure called angiography to locate the source of the bleeding.
Treament: Antibiotics, to treat infection. A liquid diet for a few days while your bowel heals. Once your symptoms improve, you can gradually add solid food to your diet. An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Epidemology: Rates of diverticulitis are also rising. The prevalence of diverticula in colon increases substantially with age. Under the age of 30, only 1 to 2% of patients have diverticulosis. In early autopsy studies from the 1920s to the 1940s, overall prevalence was reported as 2 to 10%.Prevalence increases to 50 to 66% in patients older than age 80 years. Approximately 10 to 25% of patients with diverticulosis will develop diverticulitis. The prevalence of the disease in men is approximately equal to that of women.