Diverticular disease

Diverticular disease occurs when pouches (diverticula) in the intestine, usually the large intestine or colon, become inflamed.

Diverticulosis is the presence of many diverticula along the intestinal wall. It occurs more commonly in countries such as the U.S. where the diet is generally low in fiber. More than 50% of adults over age 70 have diverticula, and 80% have no symptoms.

Most diverticula occur in the sigmoid colon, the curved part of the large intestine closest to the rectum, and they tend to become more numerous as we age.The inflammation may be local (just in the area of the diverticulum), or may spread to the abdominal lining (peritoneum), called peritonitis. Small (microscopic) or large perforations (holes in the intestinal wall) occur in 15 to 20% of people who have diverticula.

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Review Date: 3/25/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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