Diverticulitis is a condition in which pouches defined as weak points in the bowel wall, called diverticula, form in the wall of the colon and become infected. Diverticulosis is a condition when a person has multiple or recurrent diverticula which are not necessarily infected. Diverticulosis is fairly common among people over the age of 40; in fact, studies have found that the incidence of diverticular disease increases up to 65% by age 85 in developed countries, and in younger and obese patients. Diverticulitis, however, can lead to complications such as an abscess, bowel obstruction, fistula, blood loss, and peritonitis. The following symptoms of diverticulitis may help you to determine whether you should talk to your doctor about this condition.
1. Abdominal pain
Despite this high incidence of diverticulosis, most are not aware of it because they do not present with any symptoms. However, 25% of patients with diverticulosis will develop acute diverticulitis. When the diverticula become inflamed or infected, one of the first symptoms to appear may be cramping or pain. Since the left colon is the most common location of the diverticula, the pain is usually felt on the lower left side of the abdomen. If you or a loved one is experiencing abdominal pain for an extended period of time, talk to your general practitioner. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and imaging tests to determine the cause.