DiverticulitisDiverticulitis occurs when small, bulging pouches on the inner wall of the intestine, usually in the colon, become inflamed or infected. People with diverticulitis often have constant pain which can last for several days. Antibiotics are often used to treat mild cases. Surgery is an option for the most severe cases.
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Diverticula are small pouches that form in the bowel lining, usually in the lower part of the colon. These pouches usually result from pressure on weak spots in the intestine, such as when one strains with constipation during a bowel movement. Straining from constipation is an example of this kind of pressure. The diverticula are usually harmless, but bacteria can build up if the pouches are blocked with waste. Diverticulitis occurs if the pouches break open and cause inflammation and infection.
Who gets diverticulitis?
- Diverticulitis is more common in smokers than nonsmokers.
- Diverticulitis is more common in people who are overweight.
- Diverticulitis is less common in people who exercise.
- People who have regular bowel movements are less likely to get diverticulitis.
- Eating foods high in fiber and drinking lots of water help prevent diverticulitis.
- Getting diverticulitis becomes more likely as people get older.
- About 10% of people older than 40 years develop diverticula.