Diverticular disease covers both diverticulosis (the first stage) and diverticulitis (the second stage). In diverticulosis, small pockets develop in the colon. When waste and irritants get trapped in these pockets it turns into diverticulitis. The trapped waste and irritants cause infection, and the condition becomes much more serious. If you develop chronic constipation, it may lead to the disease.
Only 10 to 25% of those people with the beginning stage of diverticular disease will have symptoms. Those that have symptoms may experience pain in the left lower portion of the abdomen that worsens after eating, diarrhea or constipation, a palpable mass in the left lower side of the abdomen near the pelvis, a distended and tympanitic abdomen. For the second stage, symptoms become more serious. Pain becomes acute with marked tenderness in the lower left portion of the abdomen. There may be fever and chills, anorexia, vomiting, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, rebound tenderness and involuntary guarding, a palpable mass that is tender, fixed and firm, the abdomen is distended and tympanitic, bowel sounds may be depressed or exaggerated, and dysuria, with frequent urination if the bladder is involved.
Diverticular disease is thought to be caused by a low fiber diet, which leads to constipation. A repeated bout of constipation weakens the bowels as they strain to pass hard, dry stools. Stress, obesity, smoking, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease and heredity may also be factors.
If you develop a fever and feel severe pain in the lower left portion of your abdomen, see your doctor as soon as possible. Diverticular disease can cause complications like bleeding, abscess, peritonitis, perforation of the bowel, fistula and intestinal obstruction.
To relieve inflammation:
To regulate bowel movements: