Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Diverticulitis Underlying Cause

Diverticulitis occurs when stool fills a diverticulum. The stool obstructs the opening between the diverticulum and the inside of the intestine. Despite the obstruction, the lining of the diverticulum continues to produce mucus. In addition, the bacteria that is normally inside the intestine start to overgrow inside the diverticulum. The mucus and bacteria irritate the diverticulum and cause it to swell.

The swelling and irritation to the diverticulum can cause pain and bleeding. In severe cases, diverticulitis can cause the diverticulum to burst, spilling stool outside the intestine and causing severe pain.

Continue to Diverticulitis Anatomy

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2007 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Diverticulitis References
  1. Hall NR. Managing diverticular disease. Practitioner. 2003 May;247(1646):392-6, 400, 402 passim. [12760128]
  2. Janes S, Meagher A, Frizelle FA. Elective surgery after acute diverticulitis. Br J Surg. 2005 Feb;92(2):133-42. [15685694]
  3. Pugliese R, Di Lernia S, Sansonna F, Scandroglio I, Maggioni D, Ferrari C, Costanzi A, Chiara O. Laparoscopic treatment of sigmoid diverticulitis: a retrospective review of 103 cases. Surg Endosc. 2004 Sep;18(9):1344-8. [15803234]
  4. Simpson J, Spiller R. Colonic diverticular disease. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):599-609. [15865664]
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