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What are the causes of diverticulosis and diverticulitis?

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Aging and heredity are primary factors in the development of diverticulosis and diverticulitis, but diet also plays a role. Eating a diet low in fiber and high in refined foods may increase the risk. In Western societies, an estimated 10% of people over 40 eventually develop diverticulosis. The figure reaches at least 50% in people over 60. Diverticulitis will occur in about 10%-25% of those with diverticulosis.

Though it hasn't been proven, some researchers think that if you're often constipated and usually strain when you have a bowel movement, you may create enough pressure in your intestinal walls to weaken them and begin the development of diverticular pouches. It's also thought that not enough fiber in the diet causes it. The lack of fiber leads to increased bowel wall strain to move stool through the colon. That then causes increased local pressures that lead to the formation of pouches at weak points in the colon wall. The increased pressure, along with undigested food caught in these pouches, can damage the diverticular wall. This causes inflammation and possible bacterial infection, which can result in diverticulitis.

SOURCES: 

National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 

The Mayo Clinic.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 7, 2019

SOURCES: 

National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 

The Mayo Clinic.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 7, 2019

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How are diverticulosis and diverticulitis diagnosed?

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