Diverticulitis is a condition characterized by the formation of small pouches along the lining of your digestive tract. These pouches can become inflamed and even infected, causing them to grow in size, sometimes to the point of a blockage. In other situations, they can actually burst or rupture, creating an opening along your digestive tract. To truly understand this digestive condition, you should first become aware of what may cause the development of these pouches, so you can better prevent the development of diverticulitis.
It's believed that one of the main culprits in the development of diverticulitis is diet. But unlike other digestive disorders, it isn't a high fat or high carbohydrate diet that poses a problem. A diet low in fiber can actually contribute to this condition, since the waste you produce doesn't contain the necessary bulk. This prompts the large intestines to work in segments, instead of one continuous, rhythmic tract, which can lead to the formation of pouches along the intestinal wall that may become inflamed or infected.
Another contributing factor in the development of diverticulitis is age. As you get older, the intestinal walls can simply lose their elasticity. In this weakened state, small protrusions may develop as your colon or rectum pass waste. Once these protrusions form, they can develop into small pouches that may become infected and lead to this digestive condition.
Diverticulitis has also been linked to a more sedentary lifestyle. But unlike other contributing factors, it is still unclear why this is the case, so consider remaining active throughout your life to stave off the development of this digestive condition. Walking, biking and swimming can all increase your fitness level and keep your digestive tract healthy, and you may find other athletic pursuits that are better suited to you.
It is also possible to develop diverticulitis from certain medications. Corticosteroids are one of the more common contributing factors, especially from long-term use, but you may also increase your chances of developing this condition from the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Sometimes, diverticulitis is just a result of your genetics. Much like other conditions that plague the body, some people are merely predisposed to this digestive disorder, making things like diet, exercise and the avoidance of certain medications important measures in the prevention of diverticulitis.
Though not as common as other contributing factors, constipation may also cause diverticulitis in some people. However, it's actually the straining to pass stools that is often experienced with constipation that causes the pouches to form. Once present, they may become inflamed and infected.