Meckel's Diverticulum

What Is It?

Meckel's diverticulum is a small pouch in the wall of the lower small intestine. The pouch is a congenital (present at birth) abnormality that affects approximately 2% of the population. The pouch, or diverticulum, seems to be leftover tissue from the development of the digestive system. This tissue normally is reabsorbed before birth. When it contains gastric (stomach) tissue, it is more likely to cause bleeding.

Symptoms

Most people with Meckel's diverticulum do not experience any symptoms. Symptoms occur only if the diverticulum bleeds, becomes infected or causes an obstruction. These symptoms generally occur during the first few years of life, although they may not appear until adulthood. The bleeding, even when severe, is usually painless. An infection and blockage can cause mild to severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Signs and symptoms may include:

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