Published May 12, 2021
Diverticulosis is a condition where small bulging patches develop in your digestive tract, whereas diverticulitis is the inflammation or infection of the pouches that form in your intestines or colon wall. Together they are known as diverticular disease. The former is quite common and doesn’t cause symptoms or need any treatment. The latter can become serious, so we have developed your guide to managing diverticulitis.
Causes Of Diverticular Disease
There are several schools of thought as to why these bulges form.
Age certainly is a factor along with heredity. It is believed more than 50% of people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis.
Someone who eats a low fiber diet is at a higher risk for developing diverticulosis.
Constipation is another possible cause since a low fiber diet makes it more difficult to move your bowels. When you strain to pass stool, you put extra pressure on your colon, possibly causing the development of these bulges at weak points in your colon. In addition, undigested food caught in these pouches can lead to inflammation and bacterial infections, hence diverticulitis.
All three of these scenarios may contribute to diverticular disease.
Symptoms Of Diverticulitis
Watch out for the following symptoms of diverticulitis.
- Pain is the most common symptom in the left lower side of the abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rectal bleeding
With the onset of these symptoms you should immediately see GI Solutions. Once diagnosed with diverticulitis, expect to be given antibiotics to clear any infections. Bed rest and stool softeners may also be recommended.
More serious cases can necessitate surgery.
Living With And Managing Diverticulitis
Once you have diverticula, they do not go away. In order to prevent a flare up with inflammation or infection of these bulges, managing diverticulitis requires some changes to diet and other areas of your life.
- Choose a diet high in fiber as a preventative. You can accomplish this by eating more grains, fruits especially berries, vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, and asparagus, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and maintaining them in your diet. Include brown rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, and crackers.
- Eat less red meat.
- Drink lots of water to help pass stools more easily. As a guide to managing diverticulitis, drink half your body’s weight in ounces. Therefore if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water each day.
- Exercise more frequently. Do some type of physical movement for 30 minutes each day as a way to help waste move through your digestive system quickly and efficiently.
- Use fiber supplements like Citrucel and Metamucil or other generic brands if you can’t get enough fiber in your daily diet.