Sometimes the colon wall or lining develops very small out-pouches without any obvious symptoms unless detected through colon examination from other complications. The small pouches are called diverticula and the condition is known are diverticulosis. Each pouch is called a diverticulum that occurs when some portions of the gastrointestinal tract outer wall become weak as a result of which the inner wall pushes against them to form the diverticulum. Each diverticulum is about 5-10 mm in diameter. The high pressure created inside the colon region due to excessive muscular contractions during strained bowel movements forces the inner mucosal layer to tear the blood vessels of the colon wall and protrude past the serosa, forming sac like bodies. Common in as many as 80 among 100 older population, diverticulosis generally is associated with the colon. The condition is quite widespread in US and rather rare in Asia due to difference in food habits. As a person grows old, certain portions of their large intestine become fragile, resulting in prominence of diverticula formation.
The exact reasons of the formation of the diverticula are though not known completely, yet the conditions are mostly attributed to high pressure inside the colon and weak spots on the outside of the colon wall. Generally low fibre diet and constipation are the key factors that cause excessive strain on the colon lining while emptying the bowel. Fibre rich diet produce bulky and fluidic stools that easily pass through the colon; however, low-fibre diet produces harder bowel forcing the colonic wall to extend further for strained movement of it while emptying the bowel. The symptoms are unclear and remain unnoticed but some of the older people experience discomfort and difficulty in emptying their bowel. The signs and symptoms of diverticulosis are similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Diverticulosis is often discovered during a colonoscopy or X-ray of colon. Mostly the diverticula are present on the left side of the colon and can develop in other parts of the lower digestive tract too, except the rectum. Typically, diverticulosis problem co-exists with IBS, though not leading the one to other. If the condition persists, then over a period, the diverticula might become a spot of infection making the diverticula inflamed, leading to diverticulitis, a condition associated with bloating, abdominal cramps and frequently leading to diarrhoea. In extreme cases, a patient develops fever and prostration due to a localized infection in the diverticular sacs. When diverticulitis spreads beyond the colon wall, an abscess might form. Under such circumstances, the pus in the abscess is drained out or colostomy is performed. In extreme cases of diverticulitis, the colon becomes narrow or the intestinal infection might perforate the peritoneum. In some rare cases, the pouches may lead to formation of fistulas leading up to the bladder or small intestine. Those who are quite old have the risk of developing diverticular haemorrhage too in which the pouch follows the arterial path in the colon wall, causing rectal bleeding. Under extreme cases such as haemorrhage, fistula and perforation, an immediate surgical intervention or clinical attention is required. Otherwise, in majority of diverticulosis cases, a person has no complications and does not call for medication. However, to keep a healthy colon and for normal stool formation as a proactive measure high fibre diet is highly recommended that will potentially curtail the risks of constipation nor create high pressure in colon.
Koya Stopiles Clinic in Hyderabad, and now in Bangalore, is a specialized clinic with expertise to deal with ano-rectal problems. The team of doctors have years of experience in diagnosis and treatment of ano-rectal problems, seeking monitored help from experts overseas. The techniques are US-FDA approved and minimally invasive in curing haemorrhoids, abscess, fistulas and other anal problems. Conditions such as diverticulosis, though uncommon in India can be detected during routine colon check-up and treated successfully at the clinic to avoid further complications of gastrointestinal tract in old age; further avoid conditions of diverticular haemorrhage and fistula formation, extreme case of diverticulosis.
Diverticula in Colon: webmd.com