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Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are disorders of the colon sometimes referred to as ‘diverticular disease’. The disease occurs in the colon, where pouches can form and bulge out from the colon walls. This condition – diverticulosis – does not cause symptoms on its own. Pouches that develop blockages can become irritated, infected and inflamed – a condition known as diverticulitis.
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A person experiencing an acute diverticulitis attack may develop a fever and experience severe abdominal cramping. It is often accompanied by vomiting, nausea and constipation. It is important to see a doctor if these symptoms occur, as treatment may be necessary.
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis typically occurs in adults – particularly those over age 40. At that age, the risk gradually increases, with an estimated 50 percent of people over age 60. Only a small percentage of people with diverticulosis develops a problem with their disease.
We always suggest conservative treatments, such as increased fiber and water consumption, to prevent complications. Some people will require medical interventions. Antibiotics and a short-term liquid diet can help treat a diverticulitis attack, however, some individuals with recurring attacks will require colon surgery to remove an area of diverticular disease of the colon prone to infections.