Diverticulitis in spotlight as Brock Lesnar readies for bout (PICTURES)

Brock Lesnar Caption: LAS VEGAS - JULY 11: Brock Lesnar after a bout in Las Vegas on July 11, 2009.
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Diverticulitis sufferer and UFC figher Brock Lesnar after a bout in Las Vegas on July 11, 2009.
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(CBS/AP) Fight fans are dishing about diverticulitis in the wake of news that Brock Lesnar is slated for another Ultimate Fighting Championship bout. The 34-year-old former pro wrestler had been sidetracked by a prolonged case of the common digestive disorder.

PICTURES - Diverticulitis: 5 key questions answered

Diverticulitis is essentially an infection of small, bulging pouches in the lining of the large intestine. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, bloating or gas, fever, chill, and tenderness in the left lower side of the abdomen.

What causes the intestinal pouches to form in the first place? No one knows for sure, but doctors say not getting enough dietary fiber is a likely culprit. When people eat a diet that emphasizes processed foods like white bread, breakfast cereals, crackers, and pretzels, they tend to become constipated. Straining to relieve the bowels can cause the pouches (diverticuli) to form, and when small bits of stool lodge in these pouches, diverticulitis results.

Diverticulitis is typically treated with bed rest and pain medications, and sometimes antibiotics. In addition, people who've had the condition are often urged to limit consumption of coffee, tea, and to avoid certain foods altogether, including beans, peas, coarse grains, coconut, corn or popcorn, tomatoes, strawberries, and pickles.

But if Lesnar is avoiding certain foods, the 6'3," 265-pound fighter clearly isn't avoiding combat. He's set to return to the octagon in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more on diverticulitis.