Diverticulitis causes pouches in the weak points of the wall of the colon -- diverticula -- to become inflamed or infected. The condition may be confused with diverticulosis, which describes the repeated development of diverticula that do not necessarily become infected. Diverticulosis is relatively common among people over the age of 40. Diverticulitis can be more serious, however, leading to complications such as abscesses, bowel obstructions, fistulas, blood loss, and peritonitis.
Despite this high incidence of diverticulosis, most people aren't aware of it because they don't present with any symptoms. However, 25 percent of people with diverticulosis will develop acute diverticulitis. One of the first symptoms to appear may be cramping or pain. Since the left colon is the most common location of the diverticula, pain generally begins at the lower left side of the abdomen.
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