Everything you eat must pass through your colon. If it is unable to pass, this results in constipation. If you become constipated too often, you may develop diverticular disease. Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease throughout the U.S. It arises when small pouches begin to form in the lining and walls of your colon (diverticulosis). When these pockets become inflamed you have diverticulitis.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
The most common symptoms of diverticulitis include:
• Abdominal pain • Tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen • Nausea • Vomiting • Constipation • Cramping • Hot flushes • Increasing severity
Treatments for Diverticulitis
Many sufferers of mild diverticulitis do not experience any symptoms and therefore do not require any treatment. Patients who are experiencing mild abdominal pain are often prescribed antispasmodic drugs like:
• Hyoscyamine (Levsin) • Diclomine (Bentyl) • Chlordiazepoxide (Librax)
During mild flare-ups oral antibiotics may be prescribed, such as:
• Mentronidazole (Flagyl) • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) • Doxycycline (Vibramycin)
If you maintain a healthy lifestyle you have a good chance of preventing diverticulitis. Here's how:
• Eat plenty of fibre. The average adult does not get sufficient fibre in their diet each day. Ensure your diet includes plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains to prevent constipation. • Drink plenty of fluids to keep your stool soft and ensure that toxins are evacuated from your body. • Get plenty of exercise. This helps tone muscles and improve metabolism. • Avoid diets high in fat and refined foods such as white bread and white rice.
Diverticulitis and Nuts/Seeds
There currently exists some controversy surrounding the idea that nuts and seeds should not be included in the diet of diverticulitis sufferers. The belief is that such small, indigestible food items will become trapped in the colon pouches (diverticular). Medical experts widely agree that this is nothing more than a myth. The majority of surgeons see no point in avoiding such foods, but recommend a low residue diet.
Low Residue Diet
A low residue diet can often be beneficial during a flare-up of diverticulitis. This consists of a low fibre diet amounting to a daily intake of less than 10g of fibre. Recommendations for a low residue diet are:
• Apple sauce/dried fruit but avoid fresh fruit • White bread but avoid whole grains • White rice, refined pasta • Vegetable juices • Skinless potatoes • Well-cooked vegetables but avoid cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, sprouts and broccoli • Well-cooked, lean meat and fish • Avoid beans and lentils