What is it?
Diverticulosis results when pouches called diverticula form in the walls of the digestive tract, as the inner layer of the intestine pushes through weak spots in the outer lining. This most often occurs in the lower large intestine. Diverticulosis rarely affects people under 30, and is most common among over 60s.
The majority of those with diverticulosis don’t show symptoms of the condition, but in those who do, the most common include: Abdominal pain and cramping. Bloating. Constipation. Diarrhoea. Cramping on the left side of your abdomen that disappears after passing gas or moving your bowels. A doctor will suggest some ways to relieve your symptoms, like taking a mild pain reliever, while they pinpoint the cause. Conditions such as IBS and peptic ulcers can cause similar symptoms, so they’ll want to rule them out.
As with IBS, doctors aren’t sure of exactly what causes diverticulosis, but suggest it could be a result of muscle strain or spasm, which could cause pressure to build in the colon and press against the intestinal lining.
Treatment for this condition is focused on preventing the diverticula from becoming problematic. This usually involves: Medication to help ease symptoms, such as mesalazine, which can help with bloating and pain. Probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that live in the stomach and intestines. High-fibre foods that reduce pain and gas in the stomach. Drinking enough water daily.
What to watch for
Pain that doesn’t ease from passing gas or a bowel movement. Bright red blood in the stool.