Diverticular disease is a condition in which there are diverticular (blind pouches) in the colon associated with lower abdominal pain and disturbed bowel patterns. The pain is due to spasm of the muscle of the intestine and not to inflammation of the diverticular.
The diverticular may be the result of:
- A diet low in fibre.
- Decrease in strength of the muscles in the colon.
- It is uncommon in children.
- Increases with age, probably due to the gradual decrease in tensile strength of the intestinal mucosa.
- Is common over the age of 50 (30 % of individuals)
- Increase over the age of 70 (50% of individuals)
- And a further increase over age 85 (66% if individuals)
Diverticulitis develops when the accumulation of fecal matter in the diverticular pouches results in infection and inflammation, sometimes causing ulceration and perforation. About 10-15% of individuals with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis with bleeding as a common symptom.