Introduction: symptoms & classifications of diverticular disease.
Diverticular disease is a chronic gastrointestinal tract condition in which pockets, also know as ‘diverticula,’ form at weak points in the mucosa and sub-mucosa layers of the colonic wall. While Western medicine doesn’t fully understand why this happens, it is an increasing problem in Western and industrialized countries. Those over 40-years of age most often experience Diverticular disease and the percentage increases with age.i These diverticula or pockets trap fecal matter in the bowl and can eventually cause abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. There are several classifications of direrticular disease. The two main classifications are diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is a non-inflammatory condition in which pockets are present. This condition can be clinically asymptomatic for years until impaction or other complications occur. One of these complications is dirverticulitis an inflammatory condition in which symptoms are more noticeable; pain can range from mild to severe. Infection, internal bleeding, intestinal obstruction, abscesses, and perforation or fistula (an openings between the bowel and other organ such as the urinary tract) are also complications, which can occur. Diverticular disease can be very serious and has an increasing impact on the lives of those who experience it including pain, loss of work and wages, lower productivity, and high medical costs.ii iii Each year there are $2.4 billion in costs from 300,000 hospital admissions and 1.5 million inpatient care days.iv