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Diverticular Disease

Diverticular disease is common in developed or industrialised countries—particularly the United States, England, and Australia—where low-fibre diets are common. The disease is rare in countries of Asia and Africa, where people eat high-fibre vegetable diets.

Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula become infected or inflamed. Doctors are not certain what causes the infection. It may begin when stool or bacteria are caught in the diverticula. An attack of diverticulitis can develop suddenly and without warning.

More Information about Diverticular Disease

Symptoms

Most people with diverticulosis do not have any discomfort or symptoms. However, symptoms may include mild cramps, bloating, and constipation. Other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach ulcers cause similar problems, so these symptoms do not always mean a person has diverticulosis. You should visit your doctor if you have these troubling symptoms.

More Information

Many people have small pouches in their colon that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tyre. Each pouch is called a diverticulum; pouches (plural) are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis, and of these, around 90% are asymptomatic.

Research and Medical tests

Although not proven, the dominant theory is that a low-fibre diet is the main cause of diverticular disease. The disease was first noticed in the United States in the early 1900s.