08/31/2012 12:39 pm ET

Diverticulitis: Eddie Van Halen's Digestive Condition, Explained

Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen has undergone an emergency surgery because of diverticulitis, according to news reports.

The surgery has prompted the 57-year-old to cancel a concert tour in Japan, the Associated Press reported. But the good news is he shouldn't need any more surgeries.

People magazine reported that Van Halen will recover over the next four to six months.

Diverticulitis occurs when the digestive system's diverticula (the name for pouches in the intestinal lining) become infected or inflamed, according to the Mayo Clinic. The A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia reported that the infection or inflammation is caused by fecal pieces getting trapped in the diverticula.

The condition occurs in about 10 to 25 percent of people who have diverticulosis, which is the condition when the diverticula come out through the weak spots in the intestinal lining, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reported. Diverticulosis is relatively common, occurring in about one in 10 U.S. adults over the age of 40, and about half of adults over the age of 60.

When a person has both diverticulosis and diverticulitis, it's together called diverticular disease, the NIDDK said.

Symptoms of diverticulitis include having a tender feeling in the bottom left part of the abdomen, as well as having bloating, gas, fever, nausea and loss of appetite, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating and sometimes even rectal bleeding may also occur, the Mayo Clinic reported.

Even though the exact cause of diverticular disease is unknown, experts think that it may have something to do with not getting enough fiber in the diet (possibly from overconsumption of low-fiber processed foods), according to the NIDDK.

When you don't get enough fiber, you may need to strain more to pass stools (like if you are feeling constipated). That could put added pressure on your colon, leading to the diverticula, the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia reported.

Diverticulitis is treated depending on its severity. If it can be treated at home, a doctor may prescribe you antibiotics, lost of rest and a liquid diet, the Mayo Clinic reported. But severe cases of the condition may require hospitalization and surgery to remove a section of the colon.

This is not Van Halen's first medical issue -- he battled tongue cancer about a decade ago, People reported.