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Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis

M140/0413

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Credit

DAVID MUSHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID MUSHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Diverticula (singular: diverticulum) are outpockets of colon due to high pressure. Diverticulosis is the condition in which multiple diverticula are present in the colon. Just as the nipple of a balloon pops out with pressure, so a diverticulum protrudes with colonic pressure. Diverticulosis is the end result of high pressure. Perforation of a diverticulum causes an infection called diverticulitis. Acute diverticulitis is caused by perforation of a diverticulum. The perforation may be microscopic or macroscopic (gross; seen with the naked eye); however perforation is always present when persons have diverticulitis. The symptoms of diverticulitis include fever, abdominal pain and elevated white blood cell count. Symptoms of diverticulosis include pain and urgent defecation (incorrectly thought to be diarrhea). Complications of diverticulitis include perforation with peritonitis, abscess formation and seeding bacteria to other organs causing, for example, liver abscess. Treatment for diverticulosis is usually with a high fiber diet. Antibiotics, bowel rest and sometimes surgery are necessary for.

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