A Hypothesis: Is Diverticulitis a Type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

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It is accepted by epidemiologists that diverticula formation in the colon is related to a deficiency in dietary fiber intake, but the cause of acute diverticulitis remains unknown. A hypothesis is presented that acknowledges from the literature that fiber deficiency is also related to an altered intestinal microecology with a change in the bacterial flora. It is hypothesized that the change in the flora with a decrease in their influence on the immune process permits a low-grade chronic inflammation in the mucosa, which is the first step in developing an acute infection of diverticula or diverticulitis. There is some evidence that the low-grade chronic inflammation is present in subjects with diverticula, which is the forerunner of acute diverticulitis. This hypothesis is strengthened by early reports that anti-inflammatory mucosal agents such as mesalamine and immune process regulators such as probiotics may improve diverticulitis.

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