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There is an importance difference in diverticulosis and diverticulitis that everyone needs to understand.

Diverticulosis is a condition that is the result when the muscles of the colon wall, having to work overtime to deal with harden stools or lack of bulk in the diet, become weaken and lose their elasticity.  This will cause small pouches in a persons colon (also know as the large intestine) to bulge outward through weak spots in the walls, very similar to squeezing playdoh through your fingers. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. When a person has many of these pouches they are called diverticula, with the condition being know as diverticulosis.

Diverticulitis is when these pouches become infected or inflamed.  Many times while constipated small bits of feces can get trapped in the diverticula pouches or food can become trapped in these pockets making wonderful breeding ground for bacteria.  This does happen in 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis.

Most people with diverticulosis have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they are usually mild.

  • Bloating
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms are not necessarily symptoms of diverticulosis only; they may be symptoms of many different digestive disorders.  If you do find you have these symptoms, you should see your health care provider.

Diverticulitis on the other hand is a more serious condition and causes symptoms in many people with the condition.

  • Pain in the abdomen, usually in the lower left side
  • Bleeding: Bright red or maroon blood may appear in the toilet, on toilet paper, or in your stool. Bleeding can be severe and often stops by itself.
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Constipation (less often, diarrhea)

If not treated quickly diverticulitis, can develop one or more of the following serious complications

  • Moderate to extreme abdominal pain and cramping  (this is the first and most common sign)
  • Persistent fever  (sign of infection setting in)
  • Vomiting so bad that you can't keep anything down
  • Constipation for a long period of time
  • Burning or pain when you urinate
  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Chills

These diverticulitis symptoms can eventually lead to bleeding, infections, perforations, tears, or blockages.  Any of these complications will require treatment so always consult your doctor immediately with any signs to prevent any further complications.

 
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