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Now I have have friends and family members with direct experience with these phenomena of bulging sacs in the intestinal tract.
Risk factors include age, constipation, and a low-fiber diet.
Note: I am not a doctor. If you have any health concerns, please see a licensed medical professional.
"Diverticula" is the plural for diverticulum, a bulging sac or hole or outpocketing in the lining of the intestinal track.
"Diverticulosis" is the condition of having sacs that are uninfected and causing no problems. This is the precursor to the more serious problem of infection. Here is a short video (1:24) defining this condition.
"Diverticulitis" occurs when these sacs become infected, which is signaled by acute abdominal pain, often in the lower left quadrant and sometimes accompanied by bleeding, bloating, fever, chills, and vomiting. Here is a short video (1 min.) defining this condition.
Diverticulitis is extremely painful and can lead to serious complication if persistent and untreated. Unfortunately, it's also extremely common among older adults in the United States.
According to Emedicine Health:
"Over half of people older than 60 years of age develop the condition [of diverticulosis], and about two-thirds of individuals older than 80 years of age are believed to have diverticulosis."While the cause is not absolutely clear, medical researchers see a correlation between a low fiber diet and an increase of cases of diverticulitis. The condition was rare in the US before 1900 and the increase of processed foods. Also, people in Asia and Africa have fewer cases of diverticulitis, and they have diets higher in fiber.
Generally, the advice for prevention is to eat a high fiber diet and drink plenty of fluids. However, there is some controversy as to what people should eat once they get diverticulitis. Some say to avoid corn, nuts and seeds; others say to eat these high-fiber foods.
Follow the advice of your gastroenterologist, who should be keeping current on the research.
For a more in-depth discussion of diverticulosis and diverticulitis, watch this mid-length (6:15) video:
I got my first colonoscopy in 2014, and no diverticula were found. Woo hoo! I'm trying to eat a high-fiber diet to prevent (or at least postpone into my 80s) this condition.
My 1st Colonoscopy Screening