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What causes diverticulosis?

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Quick Answer

Although the causes of diverticulosis are not fully known, the condition may develop in the colon due to strain on vulnerable sections of the inner wall, according to WebMD. This condition creates small pouches in the wall that may lead to more serious conditions.

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Most patients do not have symptoms, but they may develop symptoms if the pouches become infected, states WebMD. This condition is called diverticulitis and may cause symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Because diverticulosis often causes no outward symptoms, the condition is only discovered through tests for other conditions or during checkups. Such tests include a barium enema X-ray test and a colonoscopy.

Because diverticulosis is believed to be caused by excess pressure created inside the colon, a diet with adequate fiber that produces stool that can move effortlessly through the colon is recommended as a mode of prevention or treatment, reports WebMD. When a diet is low in fiber, additional pressure on the colon wall to move harder stool may lead to the creation of pouches. If the stool sits too long in the colon, pressure also increases. Vulnerable spots to this pressure in the colon wall are where blood vessels pass through the muscle layer to supply blood to the inner parts of the wall.

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