Diverticulosis of the colon: A report of two cases
Background: Diverticula are bulging pouch-like herniations in the wall of the hollow organ anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract from the oesophagus to the colon. Diverticula are thought to occur more commonly in the colon than in any other segment of the gastrointestinal tract. It may be asymptomatic or complicated by diverticulitis (diverticular inflammation), bleeding, or perforation with peritonitis. It could be potentially life threatening. It was thought to be rare in this part of the world, but is increasingly diagnosed with the advent of modern imaging techniques and colonoscopy. Two cases of colonic diverticula discovered during colonoscopy were highlighted.
This patient was a 79-year old traditional ruler who presented with 2 months history of progressive left- sided abdominal pain, dull in nature and sometimes colicky but non-radiating. There was no known aggravating or relieving factors. There was associated history of chronic constipation dating back to over 15 years relieved with use of laxatives. There was no diarrhoea, vomiting or haematochezia. He had no history of previous surgeries. Physical examination showed mild tenderness at the left iliac fossa. Digital rectal examination was normal. Plain abdominal x-ray and abdomino-pelvic ultrasound scan showed no abnormalities. Colonoscopy revealed multiple diverticula with diverticulitis at the descending and sigmoid colon 40cm-60 cm from the anal verge.
This patient is a 64-year old retired military officer who presented with constipation of 5 years and rectal bleeding of 10 months. Pre-morbid bowel habit was 1-2 bowel motions per day but now once in 2 days. Constipation was characterized by recurrent passage of hard pellet-like stools. This became associated with passage of fresh blood in the stool 10months ago, and anal pain. Volume of blood was about 5 mls per episode, and this occurred only when stool was hard. The anal pain was sometimes severe enough to prevent the patient from sitting comfortably on both buttocks. There was no weight loss or constipation alternating with diarrhoea. He had no history of any chronic medical illness. Colonoscopy revealed anal fissure, internal haemorrhoids, and multiple diverticula in the sigmoid and descending colon. Both patients are being managed conservatively with dietary advice and antibiotics, and still being followed up in the clinic.
Conclusion: Reports of colonic diverticula with diverticulitis in this part of the world are few. This is the first report of colonic diverticulosis from Ilorin.
Keywords: Colon, Diverticula, Diverticulitis, Colonscopy, Ilorin