Diverticulitis refers to the inflammation and infection of the diverticula, the small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner
lining of the large intestine (colon). Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, bloating, gas, poor
appetite, diarrhea or constipation. About 25% of people with diverticulitis develop complications such as abscesses,
a blockage in the colon followed by scaring, fistulas, and peritonitis.
The pathophysiology of diverticulitis is incompletely understood. Long-standing but unproven theories suggest
that diverticulitis results from lack of blood flow and poor microcirculation of blood vessels in the intestines leads to obstruction to a diverticulum with subsequent ischemia, microperforation, and infection. There’s also chronic inflammation present.
The obstruction which leads to the development of the pouches is associated with stool hardening. When small pieces of stool (feces) become trapped in these pouches, it causes diverticulitis. It is believed that the obstruction is related to the aging process, as it is found in more than half of Americans over age 60. As people age, poor microcirculation in the large intestine can result in insufficient nutritional support to the colon and can cause slow colon contraction and bowel movements. As a result, too much water is extracted from the stool, resulting in constipation and hard stool, causing people to strain when passing stools. This increases the pressure in the colon or intestines and may cause these pouches to form.
The lack of blood flow to the colon is associated with poor microcirculation and such condition is referred to as a Kidney Yin deficiency according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Several studies have associated diverticulitis with a chronic inflammatory state. Increased expression of matrix metalloproteases and histamine, which are associated with intestinal inflammation, have been found in diverticulitis
patients. Such gut inflammation may also be associated with bacterial overgrowth and gut infections. Research has found that low stomach acid can increase gut infection and inflammation, because the food that is ingested can not be fully sterilized in the stomach at low stomach acidity. The low stomach acidity is due to Stomach Yin, Yang and Qi deficiency in TCM. The gut inflammation and infection
are referred as to gut Heat in TCM.