Diverticulitis is a typical disease of civilization, behind which is often unhealthy diet and chronic constipation. In the course of the disease, saccular protuberances are formed in the intestine to the outside, so-called diverticula, it is called diverticulosis. If inflammation occurs with diverticulosis, the disease is called diverticulitis. In the laboratory, the existing inflammation is confirmed by the CRP value. The diverticula are located in the digestive tract, especially in the large intestine, where the intestinal muscles are weaker. The presence of diverticula is not a disease in itself, serious health consequences occur only with severe inflammation, that is, diverticulitis.
How does the development of diverticula and inflammation occur? When do we talk about severe diverticulitis? Is there an effective therapy for complicated diverticulitis? Can internal medicine treat the disease, or is surgery necessary in any case with this disease?
The main cause of diverticulosis, as well as diverticulitis, is the lack of fiber. The disease has been known since industrially processed and low-fiber foods were consumed and fewer fruits, vegetables and legumes were consumed. In addition, studies on the diseases of the intestine have shown that the way of life, as well as the lack of exercise, also play an important role in the occurrence of the disease. A large number of risk factors play a role in modern lifestyles, according to which intestinal inflammation occurs only in developed countries.
Diverticula are protuberances of the intestinal mucosa: in the affected areas, the intestinal inner wall bulges outward through the intestinal muscles. This usually results in small balloon-shaped protuberances in the intestine, in which stool can be deposited. Diverticula are often harmless, but can lead to intestinal discomfort and pain. Somewhat simplified, three forms are distinguished:
Diverticulosis: the inner wall of the intestine bulges outward in several places. However, the protuberances do not cause any discomfort.
Diverticular disease: The protuberances lead to discomfort or complications.
Diverticulitis: the protuberances are inflamed.
Diverticula can lead to recurrent or permanent discomfort. This is called chronic diverticular disease. Diverticulitis is usually well treatable, but can have serious consequences if the inflammation spreads.
Diverticulitis is an inflammation of protuberances of the intestinal wall, so-called diverticula (diverticulosis). The inflammation can remain limited to the area around the diverticula (peridiverticulitis) or extend over the intestinal wall and lead to inflammation of the peritoneum, intestinal obstruction or other complications.
Whether and when diverticula become inflamed cannot be predicted. Neither the number nor the size of the diverticula indicate whether diverticulitis develops from a harmless diverticulosis. In over 90% of cases, the diverticula occur in the lower section of the colon, the so-called sigmoid colon. However, they can occur in all sections of the large intestine, except in the rectum.
Intestinal diverticula are quite common in the population, especially among the elderly: about 30% of 60-year-olds are affected by it, among those over 85 it is even 65%. Experts estimate that about 14 million people in Germany have diverticula – but in most cases without any complaints.
What is the main cause of diverticulitis?
Is diverticulitis very serious?
What are the warning signs of diverticulitis?
What is the best treatment for diverticulosis?