Diverticulosis

It is a commonly identified problem yet when asked few people understand what is happening inside of us. This article will change that, giving you a clear understanding of the process behind diverticulitis/osis.

In all cases within the body, before you can understand what is wrong you must first understand how things work normally. Diverticulitosis/ilitis is a problem with the intestinal wall. So lets start with the normal structure of a bowel wall.

The bowel is made of primarily two sections, the small and large intestines. The main difference is that the small intestines are a smaller diameter tube. The structure of the walls is essentially the same. The intestines are a long tube made of 4 distinct concentric layers. Layer 1 [the layer in contact with food] is a very thin layer of adsorptive/secretary cells which breakdown and absorb the passing chewed up food. The second layer is a stronger connective tissue layer which carries the blood vessels/lympathic fluid for which the absorbed products are transported away. The third layer is a muscular layer which provides the contractions to mix and move the food along. Covering all of this is a thin cling-film layer [layer 4] which connects the intestines to all the other structures within the local vicinity.

In the case diverticulosis, the muscular layer becomes weak with some small tears forming within them. This creates a gap and because the bowels are continuously churning and moving it can cause the first two layers to push through the gap created in layer 3. Subsequently we get a small pouch forming, termed a diverticula. This pouch sits outside of the normal flow of food moving. However, over time food may collect within the pouch. If the food gets stuck there for a prolonged period of time (lets say greater than 24hrs) then it can start to irritate the lining of the pouch. This causes inflammation and an episode of bloating, cramping pain and altered bowel movements (constipation or diarrhoea). The patient here is termed to have diverticulitis.

If the food stays for a time in which bacteria can multiple to critical level, then we can also have fever, nausea and an increased white blood count, i.e. an infection. The pouches rarely disappear and are there for the rest of the patients live. However, as you can appreciate as long as the food does not get stuck in the pouch the patient will be relatively asymptomatic. The patient is thus termed as having diverticulosis [non-inflamed asymptomatic out-pouches].

The solution to the problem is clearly to avoid getting food stuck in the pouches. Thus eating food that passes through the bowels easily, minimising the straining through the bowels and maintaining the mobility of the intestines is upmost important. Guidance on general foods to eat can easily be found on the internet, specific advise to your system can be gained via a nutritionist and maintaining the mobility of the intestines can be achieved with osteopathic techniques.

Take care and we hope you have gained some useful information from this article.