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All About Diverticulosis

The colon is a five-to-six foot long organ in the abdomen, whose main job is to absorb water from the food you eat in order to create solid stool.

Like all other organs, the colon survives based on blood supply. Its blood vessels enter the wall of the colon along its entire length.

At the sites where these vessels enter the colon, there becomes an inherent weakness in the colon wall. This can lead to pockets or outpouchings of the lining of the colon known as diverticula.

When these are present in your colon, a doctor will tell you that you have diverticulosis. That being said, diverticulosis itself is completely benign and asymptomatic. In most cases, it is identified on routine screening colonoscopy. Diverticulosis can develop in any part of your colon or diffusely throughout your colon.

Irregular bowel habits, particularly constipation, can lead to increased pressure in your colon thus contributing to the formation of diverticulosis. Therefore, consuming a high fiber diet and maintaining a regular bowel movement schedule can help limit their formation.

There are two main complications that can arise from diverticulosis: bleeding and diverticulitis. Bleeding is usually self-limited but needs mentioning as is a common cause of bright red blood per rectum. The second complication of diverticulosis is diverticulitis, covered elsewhere in detail.

Want to learn more about diverticulosis? Schedule your consultation with one of our board certified surgical experts today, (540) 347-2805.

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