84-year old woman, who depends on a weekly dose of
magnesium citrate to have a bowel movement, has extensive
diverticulosis throughout the length of the colon. The
photographs show typical lesions. Diverticula may occur
singly or clustered in small groups, with narrow or broad
openings into the colonic lumen.
rarely affects persons under age 40; however, its incidence
increases dramatically with each succeeding decade.
Although patients with this disorder are frequently
asymptomatic, abdominal cramps, constipation, and
flatulence may mark the disease’s presence, write Drs
Benjamin J. Marano, Jr, and Hal J. Freiman of Hartsdale,
Diverticulosis is a major cause of painless rectal bleeding
in the elderly, and it may be a presenting complaint in
some. Acute diverticulitis develops in a small percentage
of those affected with this condition.
For patients with uncomplicated diverticulosis, an increase
in dietary fiber or fiber supplements can reduce symptoms.
For those unwilling or unable to change their eating
habits, fiber-bulking laxatives are helpful.
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