Colonic Diverticulitis

June 12 23:22 2019 Print This Article

Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticuli in the colon rupture. The rupture results in infection in the tissues that surround the colon. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches ( diverticula ) on the outside of the colon. Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Pouches are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age.

About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis. This happens in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are also called diverticular disease. It occurs in the sigimoid colon over 90% of the time. This accounts for the fact that most patients have left lower quadrant abdominal pain. It is also true, however, that as many as ten percent of patients have no abdominal pain at all. Most of these patients will have urinary symptoms. Diverticulitis occurs when a diverticula is filled with inspisated stool that eventually erodes through the colon leading to micro perforation.

Causes of Colonic Diverticulitis

The development of colonic diverticulum is thought to be a result of raised intraluminal colonic pressures. The sigmoid colon has the smallest diameter of any portion of the colon, and therefore the portion which would be expected to have the highest intraluminal pressure according to the laws of Laplace. The postulate that low dietary fiber, particularly non-soluble fiber (also known in older parlance as ” roughage “) predisposes individuals to diverticular disease is supported within the medical literature. It is thought that mechanical blockage of a diverticulum, possibly by a piece of feces, leads to infection of the diverticulum.

Other causes may include a colonic spasm that increases pressure. This may be due to dehydration, low-fibre diets, or constipation. Diverticular disease is common in developed countries where low-fibre diets are common. The disease is rare in Asia and Africa where people eat high-fibre vegetable diets. Fibre is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Some fibre dissolves easily in water. Fibre helps prevent constipation.

  • Low-fiber diet.
  • Connective tissue disorders (these may cause weakness in the colon wall e.g. Marfan syndrome).
  • Increasing age.
  • Constipating conditions.
  • Colonic motility disorders, ingestion of corticosteroids, and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be predisposing factors in the development of diverticular disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Colonic Diverticulitis

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping.
  • Bloating.
  • Bleeding (variable amounts).

Treatment for Colonic Diverticulitis

Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluids are given to rest the bowel.
  • Antibiotics.
  • After the acute infection has stabilized, diverticulitis is treated by increasing the bulk in the diet with high – fiber foods and bulk additives such as Metamucil.
  • Pain-killing medications.