Diverticulitis results from the inflamed diverticula formed along the lining of large intestine. When the hard stool passes through the weakened large intestine, it increases the pressure inside the colon, resulting in the formation of small, bulging pouches, known as diverticula. This condition is called as diverticulosis. When diverticula get infected or inflamed, it gives rise to painful condition, called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be treated with medications and natural remedies in mild cases and surgery in chronic and severe cases.
Causes and Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Diverticulosis is mainly associated with aging, as the bowels get weakened with advanced age. People after the age of 40 are more prone to develop diverticulitis. If you are taking low-fiber foods, then also you are at the increased risk of diverticulitis. Being overweight and smoking can also elevate the risk of this disease.
The symptoms start suddenly and they are mild in the beginning. The disease worsens with time and the condition becomes extremely painful. Abdominal pain in the lower left side is the most prominent symptom of diverticulitis. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation and bloating. The sufferer also experiences high fever and malaise. In chronic cases, there may develop some complications like formation of abscess, fistula, perforation and peritonitis.
Treatment for Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis pain can be misdiagnosed with other abdominal problems like appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, stomach ulcers, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and ischemic colitis. For proper treatment, a correct diagnosis of diverticulitis is necessary. Diverticulitis can be diagnosed on the basis of CT scan, X-ray or ultra-sonography. The blood tests like complete blood count can be done to detect the infection.
Among various treatment options, use of medications is the most commonly recommended option by the doctors. The medications like antibiotics, antispasmodics and analgesic drugs are commonly given. In severe cases and if complications are developed, surgery may be needed. However, these conventional treatments can impart certain adverse effects. Therefore, it is better to opt for natural remedies, which are safe and easy-to-follow. Among natural treatment options, herbal remedies are found to be quite effective in healing diverticulitis symptoms.
Best Herbs for Diverticulitis
Use of herbs is the best way to strengthen and tone the body systems. There are wide variety herbs available, which can be used to cure a number of ailments. Diverticulitis is one such health condition, which can be controlled with using various herbs. The herbs can be used in dried extracts such as capsules, herbal tea or powder as well as glycerites (glycerin extracts) or tinctures (alcohol extracts). You have to take the herbs in recommended doses only. Some of the herbs that can be effectively used to reduce the symptoms of diverticulitis are flax seed, cat’s claw, chamomile, slippery elm, marshmallow, wild yam and licorice. These herbs are known for their anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic as well as analgesic properties.
– Flaxseed: It contains rich amount of fiber and acts as a bulk forming natural laxative. It softens the stool and stimulates its easy passing through the intestine. You can use flaxseed in the powdered form.
– Cat’s Claw: This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Hence, it can be effectively used to treat inflammation in diverticulitis. However, it should be avoided during pregnancy, autoimmune disease or leukemia.
– Slippery Elm: It is identified for its demulcent properties. That means it protects irritated tissues and promotes healing process. You may mix its powder in water and take it 3-4 times a day.
– Marshmallow: It is identified for its emollient (softening or soothing effect) and demulcent properties. You can prepare an herbal tea using dried leaves of this herb. Consumption of 1 cup of tea three times a day is recommended. Marshmallow should be avoided by the diabetics.
– Chamomile: Chamomile is popular for its properties to relax the digestive system. Due to its antimicrobial action, it is helpful in wound healing. These combined actions make this herb an effective remedy to reduce the symptoms of diverticulitis and prevent its complications. It can be taken in the form of herbal tea. Chamomile should be avoided during pregnancy.
– Licorice: It can be effectively used to reduce inflammation and spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. People with heart failure, high blood pressure or kidney diseases should avoid prolonged use of licorice.