|Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when sac-like pouches (diverticular) form in the wall of the colon and become inflamed or infected. When stool or food is not broken down, it becomes trapped in the diverticular resulting in pain, swelling, bleeding and infection of the abdomen. It is similar to appendicitis and has the potential to rupture if left untreated. Diverticulitis can lead to a number of serious problems such as an abscess, bleeding, bowel obstruction, fistula, perforation or peritonitis.
This condition develops from a condition called diverticulosis – tiny, bulging pouches in your digestive tract. Diverticulosis increases with age and approximately half of the American population aged between 60-80 years old have it.
Diverticulitis occurs in 10-25% of people with diverticulosis at some time in their lives. Most people are not even aware that they have diverticulosis because these pouches rarely cause problems. Diverticula is mostly found in the large intestine but can form anywhere including in your esophagus, stomach and small intestine.