Diverticulitis is chronic swelling in the intestine that develops when small pockets, called diverticula, become infected. About ten percent of the population develops some diverticula by the age of 50, but simply the development of the pouches — diverticulosis — does not often cause problems. As the pockets become inflamed, however, they can put pressure on the intestinal wall and cause various signs and symptoms.
Sometimes, people with diverticulitis do not realize they have a digestive condition until a doctor diagnoses them with a test, such as a colonoscopy, carried out for another reason. In the early stages of diverticulitis, the condition causes symptoms many people do not take note of, such as mild indigestion or chronic stomach discomfort.
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