There are a number of common gastrointestinal conditions, disorders and diseases that may cause problems. These include:
A diverticulum is a sac-like protrusion of the colonic wall. Diverticulosis or diverticular disease, which is the presence of several diverticula either localised in one segment of the colon - frequently the sigmoid colon - or occasionally in a right sided or pan-colonic distribution, is usually asymptomatic. The prevalence of diverticulosis increases with age from less than 20% at 40 years to 60% at 60 years.
Diverticular symptoms when these occur (e.g. pain, fever, bleeding and/or diarrhoea) may be due to inflammation and sepsis (diverticulitis). Severe diverticular disease can affect bowel function and make colonoscopy difficult. Segmental diverticular associated colitis is another related condition. Obesity and some medications (e.g. NSAIDs, steroids and opiates) are associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.
Asymptomatic diverticular disease does not generally require treatment but when complications occur, this may include taking antibiotics, analgesia, probiotics, stool softeners and occasionally surgery. Find out more about diverticular disease ("Debunking Myths about Diverticular Disease") from my Blog.
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