Diverticula are small outpouchings that develop at weak points along the wall of the colon (large bowel), probably because of high pressures associated with muscle contractions during the passage of stool. When these sacs become obstructed and/or inflamed (most frequently in middle-aged or elderly individuals), they enlarge and create pain and fever. Usually, the left lower quadrant is involved, because diverticula tend to form in the left-side portion of the colon (descending colon) more frequently than in the right-side portion (ascending colon) or horizontal connecting section (transverse colon). A ruptured diverticulum can cause a clinical picture much like that of a ruptured appendix, with pain in the left side of the abdomen instead of the right side. The victim should seek medical attention, and his diet be limited to clear fluids. Antibiotics (metronidazole, metronidazole combined with doxycycline, amoxicillin-clavulanate, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, cefixime, ciprofloxacin, or cefpodoxime) should be administered if help is more than 24 hours away.
As the population ages, diverticulitis is expected to become more prevalent. In a recent article Read more »
This post, Diverticulitis Expected To Become More Prevalent In An Aging Population, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..