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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis (cont.)

Diverticulitis Causes

Diverticulosis is thought to be caused by increased pressure on the intestinal wall from inside the intestine.

  • As the body ages, the outer layer of the intestinal wall thickens. This causes the open space inside the intestine to narrow. Stool (feces) moves more slowly through the colon, increasing the pressure.
  • Hard stools, such as those produced by a diet low in fiber or slower stool "transit time" through the colon can further increase the pressure.
  • Frequent, repeated straining during bowel movements also increases the pressure and contributes to the formation of diverticula.

Diverticulosis in developed countries is blamed largely on a diet low in fiber.

  • Fiber is found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils).
  • There are two types of fiber, soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble.
  • Soluble fiber forms a soft gel-like substance in the digestive tract.
  • Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract nearly unchanged.
  • Both are necessary to keep stool soft and moving easily through the digestive tract, which helps prevent constipation.
  • This is how fiber prevents constipation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Diverticulitis »

Diverticula are small mucosal herniations protruding through the intestinal layers and the smooth muscle along the natural openings created by the vasa recta or nutrient vessels in the wall of the colon.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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