Diverticular Disease

Diverticular Disease

Diverticular Disease appears generally in patients with a history of chronic constipation and/or irritable bowel.

Diverticula are small hernias in the bowel’s mucus (“small like balloons protrude in the wall of the colon or large intestine), these hernias are formed by the increased pressure within the intestine when not being able to advance the food towards the rectum and expelling it, this pressure is then directed towards the walls causing to form these “small like balloons in the weakest part of the wall of the colon, which is the area where microscopic veins and arteries enter the colonic mucus.

This explains that one of the most common manifestations of the diverticula is intestinal bleeding, since when increasing the pressure in the diverticulum, breaks the vein or artery and causing bleeding that can be very severe.

Other complications produced from diverticula are inflammation (Diverticular Disease) and perforation (this is most severe of all since it causes a peritonitis and generally requires urgent surgical handling).

Diverticula symptoms are the same as the irritable bowel: alterations in the bowel movements, constipation, abdominal pain that can be very intense when diverticula is present, fever, weight loss, rectal bleeding, all these gastric irritating symptoms appear or the’re increased when ingesting foods like hot chilli peppers, strong condiments, alcohol and fats.

What to do?

  • If you have chronic symptoms of alterations in your bowel movements, it’s necessary that you visit your doctor and discard the possibility of having this disease by means of a check up, a good physical exploration and with the aid of endoscopic (coloscopy) and probably radiological studies (colon cleansing or a CAT scan).
  • Diverticula are medically treated with a diet, fiber and medication that diminish the pressure in the colon and corrects bowel movements. When complications arise or the treatment does not respond accordingly, a surgical intervention is needed.