Diverticula usually develop when naturally weak places in your colon give way under pressure. This causes marble-sized pouches to protrude through the colon wall.
Exactly how diverticula become inflamed or infected isn't clear. One theory is that the increased pressure in the colon can weaken the wall of the diverticula, leading to infection. Another is that the narrow openings of diverticula may trap fecal matter, which can lead to infection. Or an obstruction in the narrow opening of a diverticulum may reduce blood supply to the area, which leads to inflammation.
In the past, doctors thought that nuts, seeds, popcorn and corn played a role in causing diverticulitis by getting trapped in the diverticula. However, research has shown that these foods aren't associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis.
May. 21, 2011
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- Strate LL, et al. Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:907.
- Diverticulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec02/ch019/ch019c.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Narula N, et al. Role of probiotics in management of diverticular disease. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2010;25:1827.
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