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What causes diverticulitis disease?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, the exact cause of diverticulitis disease is unknown, but eating foods low in fiber may contribute to its occurrence. Diets low in fiber can cause constipation, requiring more pressure to pass materials along the colon. This pressure may cause diverticulitis disease, states Healthline.

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Full Answer

Diverticulosis is a condition in which numerous tiny pockets, called diverticula, form in the lining of the bowel, notes WebMD. Sometimes, diverticula become inflamed, causing nausea, fever and severe abdominal pain, a disease called diverticulitis, reports Mayo Clinic.

The risk of developing diverticulitis disease increases with age and is common in smokers and overweight individuals. Additionally, lack of exercise, a diet low in fiber and high in animal fat, and medications such as opiates, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of this condition, explains Mayo Clinic. A sudden abdominal pain, particularly on the lower left side, is the primary sign of diverticulitis. Other symptoms include constipation, rectal bleeding and loss of appetite, states Healthline.

During diagnosis, patients should share their medical history with their doctors, such as their symptoms, current medication and diets. Possible tests include a colonoscopy, X-rays and ultrasound, states WebMD. Severe diverticulitis may need surgery, but mild diverticulitis can be treated with antibiotics, rest and a change of diet, reports Mayo Clinic.

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