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What is Diverticulitis ?

 Diverticulitis is a digestive condition that affects colon or large intestine. It results from the inflammation of single or more diverticula in the digestive tract. Diverticula can be described as small, bulging pouches formed anywhere in the digestive system, including stomach, small intestine and esophagus. However, large intestine is the most common site, where diverticula are found. The formation of diverticula is associated with aging. It is commonly seen after age of 40. The formation of diverticula is referred to as diverticulosis. When it causes certain health problems like severe abdominal pain, nausea and fever, then the condition is known as diverticulitis. Mild cases can be cured with the use of antibiotics, enough rest and dietary changes. But, in severe cases of diverticulitis, surgery may be required.

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Causes of Diverticulitis

Colon DiverticulitisThe major cause of diverticulitis is formation of small pouches or sacs, called diverticula. Colon is a part of large intestine. Diverticula are most commonly seen in the lower part of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon. Inflammation, irritation, swelling and infection in diverticula can cause diverticulitis. Diverticula tend to protrude through the weak spots of colon wall, causing infection. The narrow openings of diverticula may trap fecal matter, leading to infection. Obstruction in the narrow opening of the diverticulum may decrease blood supply, resulting in inflammation.

The exact causes of formation of diverticula are not clear. Consumption of low-fiber foods is considered to be the major cause. People who eat more processed food, including white rice, most breakfast cereals, white bread, crackers and pretzels are more likely to develop diverticulosis. When small pieces of stool or feces are trapped in diverticula, it results in infection and inflammation, known as diverticulitis.

Risk Factors

The factors that can increase the risk of diverticulitis are aging, low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, obesity and smoking. People over 40 are more likely to develop diverticula due to reduced strength and elasticity of bowel wall. High-fiber diet helps to keep the stools soft and prevents formation of diverticula. Diverticulitis is common in the industrialized nations like United States, where the average diet is rich in refined carbohydrates and low in fiber. Lack of exercise also increases the risk of diverticulitis. Being overweight is also contributing factor. Likewise, the smokers are more prone to develop diverticulitis.

Signs and Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Many people with diverticulitis have no noticeable signs and symptoms. However, they may experience cramping and bloating in the lower part of abdomen. The symptoms often start suddenly and they are quite severe. They may worsen with time. Some of the common signs and symptoms of diverticulitis are abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fever, bloating, changes in bowel habits and bleeding from the rectum in rare cases. The abdominal pain is often sudden and intense and located in the lower left side of the abdomen. In some people, abdominal pain is mild at first and becomes severe with time.

Possible Complications

More serious cases may develop following complications:

–          There may be abnormal connection formed between various parts of the colon or between the colon and another body parts. The condition is referred to as fistula. The infected tissues, if come in contact with each other, can stick together. Due to formation of fistula, there may be bacterial infection in different body parts.

–          Another most common complication of diverticulitis is an abscess in the large intestine. An abscess is a cavity or lump filled with pus.

–          There may be hole or tear in the colon, known as perforation. Also, there may be narrowed area in the colon, referred to as stricture.

Diagnosis of Diverticulitis

The formation of diverticula doesn’t cause any physical problems. Many people come to know about diverticulosis during routine screening examination for intestinal problems. Diverticulitis can be diagnosed during an acute attack. Since abdominal pain is the most significant symptom of diverticulitis, the condition can be misdiagnosed with other health problems like appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, ectopic pregnancy, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, ischemic colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, correct diagnosis is very important for proper treatment.

For the diagnosis of abdominal pain, the doctor carries out physical examination of abdomen for tenderness. Laboratory investigation like complete blood count is carried out to check white blood cells for the signs of infection. An imaging test like CT scan is carried out to visualize the pouches that are inflamed or infected. Other tests done for the diagnosis of diverticulitis are ultrasound of the abdomen and abdominal X-rays.

Treatment for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis can be treated in various ways. The treatment option depends upon the severity of the symptoms. Mild cases can be treated with home care; while in severe case, hospitalization may be needed. The doctor usually prescribes antibiotics, which should be taken in the recommended dose and course. Also, antispasmodics to relive cramping and analgesics to relive pain are given. Additionally, you are advised to include more fiber in your daily diet and avoid processed foods. Consumption of more amount of fiber can help prevent future attacks. Once diverticula are formed in the large intestine, they will remain permanently. What you can do is to make simple changes in your lifestyle and dietary habits and prevent recurrent attacks of diverticulitis.

Precautionary Measures:

  • You need to include high-fiber foods in your diet such as fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains, which can help soften the stools and make it pass more quickly through the colon. This helps to reduce the pressure in the digestive tract. Daily consumption of minimum 20-35 grams of fiber is recommended. However, make sure to add fiber gradually to avoid gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
  • You should drink plenty of fluids to support the action of fiber. The fiber absorbs the water and makes the stools soft. If you don’t drink sufficient liquids, then you may suffer from constipation.
  • Don’t fail to respond to bowel urges. Never delay the bowel movements, as it can lead to harder stools, which need more force to pass. It results in increased pressure in the colon.
  • Regular exercise is also very important. It promotes normal bowel function and decreases pressure inside the colon. Daily exercise of at least 30 minutes is recommended.
  • During an acute attack of diverticulitis, you need to remain on a liquid diet. It includes water, broth, gelatin, clear carbonated drinks and ice pops. The liquid diet helps to the intestines to repair the damage and relax for some time. You may include low-fiber foods like eggs, yogurt, peanut butter and cooked vegetables in your diet, as the symptoms start to fade. After the complete recovery, you can take high-fiber diet that includes uncooked fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dried beans to prevent more attacks of diverticulitis.
  • When you suffer from acute attack of diverticulitis, you need to take enough rest and relax your colon. It can accelerate the healing process.

Hospitalization:

If you have more severe attack or you have developed complications of diverticulitis such as an abscess, then you may require hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. If the abscess is developed, it should be drained by inserting a needle through the skin.

Surgery for Diverticulitis

If you have recurring diverticulitis, or developed complications like fistula, abscesses or perforation, then the surgery is recommended to remove the diseased part of colon. There are two types of surgical procedures such as primary bowel resection and bowel resection with colostomy. In primary bowel resection, the diseased part of intestine is removed and the healthy segments of colon are reconnected. This procedure is known as anastomosis. This eases normal bowel movements. If done with laparoscopic surgery, it can be performed through 3-4 small incisions with rapid recovery. If there is excess inflammation in the colon and rejoining of colon and rectum is not possible, then bowel resection with colostomy is required. During colostomy, an opening or stoma is made in the abdominal wall and the unaffected part of colon is connected to the stoma. The waste passes through the opening into the bag. Once the inflammation is healed completely, a second operation is performed to reconnect colon and rectum.

Alternative Treatments

The sufferer is suggested to take supplements such as fiber supplements like insoluble fiber supplements such as glucomannan and psyllium, as well as soluble fiber supplements like oat bran or flax seed and other supplements like glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and bifidobacteria.

You may also use the herbs like flaxseed, slippery elm, cat’s claw, wild yam, chamomile, licorice and marshmallow in the form of dried extracts or tinctures. These herbs can provide a great relief in diverticulitis as well as strengthen and tone the body systems. Also, homeopathic medicines like belladonna, colicynthis and bryonia can be used to relive abdominal pain and cramping due to diverticulitis.

Diet for Diverticulitis

A diverticulitis diet is recommended along with antibiotics in case of mild or uncomplicated diverticulitis. It begins with intake of clear liquids for a few days. You are allowed to take the beverages like clear soda, broth, fruit juices like apple or grape juice without pulp, ice chips, plain gelatin, ice pops without addition of fruit or fruit pulp and plain water. Once you start feeling better, you can gradually include low-fiber foods like canned or cooked fruits without seeds or skin, canned or cooked vegetables like peas, green beans and potatoes, eggs, poultry, fish, refined wheat and white bread, low-fiber cereals, milk, low-fat yogurt and cheese. When you completely recover from the symptoms, you can gradually come back to a regular diet.

With balanced lifestyle, nutritious, fiber-rich diet and regular exercise regimen, you can overcome and prevent the painful symptoms of diverticulitis and stay healthy and fit.

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Pain Relief for Diverticulitis at Home

 Ddiverticulitis2iverticulitis is the painful condition of digestive tract, which is characterized by extreme abdominal pain. In this condition, small, bulging pouches are formed along the lining of intestinal wall, which is referred to as diverticulosis. When these sacs get infected or inflamed, it gives rise to painful symptoms, called as diverticulitis. Due to aging, the intestinal walls become weakened. When the hard stool passes through the bowels, it increases pressure inside the colon, resulting in the formation of diverticula. Diverticula may be formed anywhere in the digestive tract, including small intestine, esophagus; however, large intestine or colon is the most common site.

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Other than aging, dietary habit is another major contributory factor. Consumption of low-fiber diet increases the risk of developing diverticulitis. Some other risk factors are obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. In diverticulosis, no symptoms or very mild symptoms are experienced. When diverticula get infected by the bacteria, it leads to inflammation, causing the symptoms like pain and tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, flatulence, bloating, changes in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation and high fever.

Diverticulitis Treatment

In chronic and severe cases of diverticulitis, there may develop certain complications like formation of fistula, abscesses, perforation, infection and peritonitis. In such cases, hospitalization and surgery may be required. Diverticulitis pain may be misdiagnosed with other intestinal conditions like appendicitis, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome etc. Hence, correct diagnosis is necessary to give proper treatment. Mild cases can be healed with oral antibiotics; while, in severe cases, hospitalization is recommended for intravenous antibiotics. In the initial stage, diverticulitis can be treated with natural remedies. You can get relief from diverticulitis pain using the ingredients readily available at home.

Pain Relief for Diverticulitis at Home

The major advantages of home remedies are that they are easy-to-follow and give better results without causing any side-effects. You can try some of the effective home remedies to reduce pain caused by diverticulitis. You may apply heating pad to the abdomen to reduce mild pain and cramps. Also try relaxations techniques like slow, deep breathing or meditation, which can help to relieve mild pain.

Once you feel better, you can bring out certain dietary changes to prevent recurrent attacks. Include high-fiber foods in your daily diet. Cereals and whole-grain breads, brown rice, fresh vegetables and fruits should cover a major portion of your diet. Some of the excellent sources of fiber are fruits like pear, avocado, orange and apple, dried fruits like apricots and prunes, vegetables like beans, peas, Brussel’s sprouts, carrots and potatoes as well as nuts like almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts.

Barley is the grain that is known for its digestive anti-inflammatory properties. It can be added to vegetable soup or stew. Brown rice is easily digestible and it helps to soothe inflammation and spasms in the colon. Another home remedy is the use of garlic. It helps to prevent infection. It can be added into the salad, soup or stew.

In addition, practice healthy bowel habits, which should be maintained at regular timings. Eat at particular time and drink plenty of fluids to prevent constipation. Also, regular exercising is also very important, as it strengthens the digestive system as well as helps to maintain healthy body weight. Stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking.

Diverticulitis Breakthrough by Mark Anastasi : Review

 Diverticulitis is referred to as the condition that results from the infection and inflammation of small pouches developed in the large intestine or colon. With aging, the intestinal walls become weak. When the hard stool passes through the large intestine, it increases pressure inside the colon. It leads to the formation of small, bulging pouches or sacs along the intestinal lining. The condition is known as diverticulosis. When these sacs become infected or inflamed, it gives rise to the symptoms like severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, high fever and changes in bowel habits.

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The condition is mainly associated with aging. People more than 40 years of age are more likely to develop diverticulitis. Intake of low-fiber foods is another significant contributing factor. Fiber is an important part of regular diet. It absorbs the water from the intestine and makes the stool soft and bulky, so that it can easily pass through the colon. People, who continuously consume processed foods like white rice, white flour or high-fat foods, are at the increased risk of developing diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis can be treated in various ways such as medications like antibiotics, antispasmodics and analgesics. The severe cases need to be treated with surgery. Also, there are natural treatment options like lifestyle changes and dietary changes as well as home remedies. Diverticulitis diet is an important aspect of the treatment. The sufferers should strictly follow the dietary restrictions for early recovery.

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diverticulitisIn this e-Book Mark Anastasi has described the exact causes of diverticulitis. He says,’ Diverticulitis is not the ‘disease’. It is actually a warning sign of a damaged inner terrain, which is excessively toxic, polluted and acidic’. The modern lifestyle and eating habits are the root causes of diverticulitis. When you go through ‘Diverticulitis Breakthrough’, you will learn about the substances that attack your body and aggravate the diverticulitis symptoms, the surefire way to determine your current level of health and measure the damage due to your modern diet. This e-book also informs you about the most effective fruits and vegetables for cleaning up excess acidic waste and the ways to cleanse your inner terrain completely from systemic acidosis. The author has given 56- day money-back guarantee. This e-book can be easily downloaded from the website http://improvised.diverticulitiscuredathome.com/.

By following these easy-to-follow and effective solutions, you will start to reverse diverticulitis and restore your body to the state of vibrant health and energy. You will also find energy level boost, better sleep and increased mental clarity. The author finally mentions that this page is provided for the educational and informational purposes only and it is not intended to be a substitute for a healthcare professional’s consultation. He also advises to consult your physician or healthcare provider about applicability of any options with respect to your own symptoms.

Diverticulitis Symptoms & Causes

 Diverticulitis is the disease of colon, caused by the infection and inflammation of single or multiple diverticula. Diverticula are the small pouches or sacs that are formed in the lining of large intestine or colon. This condition is referred to as diverticulosis. Diverticulosis generally doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. When the feces get trapped in the diverticula, they become infected and inflamed, known as diverticulitis. It gives rise to the symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. It can be treated be treated with medications and surgery as well as natural remedies including dietary changes.

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Symptoms of Diverticulitis

The symptoms of diverticulitis generally start suddenly. The symptoms are mild in the starting and may worsen with time. The most prominent symptom is diverticulitis is intermittent pain in the lower-left side of the abdomen. The pain tends to worsen when eating or immediately after eating. Passing stools and flatulence may help to reduce pain. The Asian people may experience the pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. The reason is that Asian people tend to develop diverticula in various parts of colon, might be due to genetic reasons. The sufferer may experience cramps, tenderness and pain in the abdomen, which may worsen with movement. There may also be bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits like diarrhea or constipation. The patient may experience loss of appetite, nausea and sometimes vomiting as well as high fever and feeling of being sick. The symptoms may last for few hours to several days. In chronic and severe cases, there may arise some complications like formation of abscess, fistula, bowel infection, obstruction, perforation and peritonitis.

Causes of Diverticulitis

Diverticulosis can be described as formation of small pouches, diverticula, along the intestinal lining. The condition is caused due to aging. When the hard stool passes through the weakened large intestine, it increases the pressure inside the colon, leading to development of diverticula. When the feces are trapped inside the diverticula, they get infected by the bacteria, causing inflammation. This condition is referred to as diverticulitis. Elderly people are at the increased risk of developing diverticulitis. Some other contributing factors are smoking, being overweight, history of constipation, physical inactivity as well as use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Consumption low-fiber diet is another important contributing factor for diverticulitis. Fiber is an essential part of our diet, which keeps the bowel well-functioning. Fiber absorbs water from the colon and makes the stools soft and bulky, so that it can pass easily and smoothly through the large intestine. It also helps to prevent constipation and in turn, diverticular disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Diverticulitis

The diagnosis is done on the basis of clinical history, symptoms and physical examination. For the confirmation of diagnosis, the investigations such as blood tests like complete blood count and imaging tests like CT scan, USG or X-ray are done.

The mild cases of diverticulitis can be treated with rest, relaxation and medications like antibiotics, analgesics and antispasmodic drugs. You may need hospitalization and surgery in case of chronic and severe diverticulitis as well as if complications like fistula or abscesses are developed.

Diverticulitis Prevention

 Diverticulitis is the common condition that affects the digestive system. It is characterized by the formation of small, bulging pouches along the lining of intestine. These pouches or sacs are referred to as diverticula. Diverticula can be formed anywhere in the digestive system, including small intestine, esophagus or bladder. However, the most common site for the development of diverticula is the large intestine or colon. The formation of diverticula is known as diverticulosis. When diverticula protrude through the intestinal wall and become infected or inflamed, it results in diseased condition, called as diverticulitis. It gives rise to the symptoms like intense pain in the lower left side of the abdomen, tenderness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, diarrhea and changes in bowel habits. The sufferer may also experience high fever and malaise. The symptoms usually start suddenly and eventually get worse over time.

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The condition is mainly associated with aging. After the age of 40, people are more prone to develop diverticulitis due to weakened intestine. The harder stool when passes through the weakened large intestine, it increases the pressure inside the colon, which leads to the formation of diverticula. Low-fiber diet is another significant contributing factor. Fiber is an important part of our diet, which helps to keep the stool soft and bulky, so that it can easily pass through the intestine and thus prevents constipation. Other factors to cause diverticulitis are smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.

If not treated promptly, diverticulitis can give rise to certain serious complications like abscess formation, peritonitis (abdominal infection), formation of fistula, bowel obstruction and perforation. Various treatment options for diverticulitis include medications like antibiotics, analgesics as well as surgery in case of chronic and severe diverticulitis. However, medications and surgery can impart certain harmful effects. If complications are developed, the condition becomes very painful. Therefore, it is always better if you can prevent the disease than to cure it.

Diverticulitis Prevention

Diverticulitis can be prevented by following certain precautionary measures. Intake of fiber-rich diet certainly reduces the risk of diverticulitis.

–          Your daily diet should contain rich amount of fiber. Daily consumption of at least five portions of fresh vegetables like peas, potatoes, spinach and squash as well as fruits like apples, prunes and pears is recommended. Beans like kidney beans and black beans are also the good sources of fiber. Your daily diet should include minimum 25-35 grams of fiber. Some other foods that are rich in fiber are whole grain breads, pastas, cereals and unprocessed foods.

–          When you are taking high-fiber foods, you need to drink plenty of water and other fluids. It helps to keep the feces soft and easy to pass through the bowels, preventing constipation.

–          When you feel an urge for bowel movement, don’t avoid it. If you delay going to the toilet, it causes the harder stools, which needs more pressure to pass the stools.

–          Since obesity is one of the causative factors for diverticulitis, try to maintain healthy body weight by means of healthy, nutritious diet and regular exercising. Avoid eating spicy and oily foods as well as processed foods to prevent obesity.

–          Regular exercise is an important aspect of prevention of diverticulitis. Exercising promotes normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside the colon. You should have minimum 30 minutes exercising per day.

Best Medications for Diverticulitis

 Diverticulitis is the painful condition, which results from the inflammation of diverticula. Diverticula are the small sacs that are formed along the lining of intestinal walls. The formation of diverticula is referred to as diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is caused by the increased pressure inside the colon due to passing of hard stools through the weakened wall of the bowels. This condition is mainly related to aging. After the age of 40, the intestinal walls usually become weak, which makes it difficult to pass the stools.

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Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a very painful condition. The symptoms begin suddenly and get worse with time. Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen is the most prominent symptom of diverticulitis. The patient also experiences abdominal tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating, flatulence and changes in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation. Also, there may be high fever and malaise.

Causes of Diverticulitis

Although the exact causes of diverticulitis are not clear, the condition is thought to be associated with low-fiber diet. People who consume more processed foods and less amounts of fiber are more prone to this disease. Lack of exercise, obesity and smoking can also increase the risk of developing diverticulitis.

Medications for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis, if becomes chronic and severe, can give rise to serious complications like formation of abscesses, fistula, infection, perforation and peritonitis. Therefore, early diagnosis and prompt treatment is very essential to control the disease in its early stages. Most people with diverticulosis have no visible symptoms or very mild symptoms. They don’t require any specific medical treatment. They are advised to take a normal fiber diet to prevent constipation and to prevent formation of more diverticula.

The patients with mild symptoms like abdominal pain due to muscular spasm in the area of diverticula are recommended to take anti-spasmodic drugs like dicyclomine, chlordiazepoxide, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, atropine and Phenobarbital. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller like paracetamol can be taken to reduce the symptoms. Painkillers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are not advisable, as they may upset the stomach and increase the risk of internal bleeding. If you are suffering from constipation, the doctor prescribes a bulk-forming laxative. However, this can cause bloating and flatulence. You are advised to drink plenty of water in order to prevent any obstruction in the digestive system.

When the symptoms of diverticulitis are seen, the use of antibiotics is necessary. In case of mild symptoms, oral antibiotics can be administered. Some of the commonly prescribed antibiotics are ciprofloxacin, cephalexin, metronidazole and doxycycline. In mild diverticulitis, the patient is given a clear liquid diet and oral broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy. The antimicrobial therapy includes anaerobic microorganisms like Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium and Peptostreptococcus as well as aerobic bacteria like Klebsiella, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus, Proteus and Enterobacter.

During acute attack of diverticulitis, the sufferer is advised to take liquid or low-fiber foods. In case of severe diverticulitis with extreme pain and high fever, hospitalization is necessary for giving intravenous antibiotics. Surgery is recommended for the patients with abscess or bowel obstruction and not responding to antibiotics.

Once the episode of acute attacks has resolved, the patient is switched to high-fiber diet as tolerated and advised to maintain a lifelong high-fiber diet to prevent recurrent attacks of diverticulitis.

Diverticulosis vs Diverticulitis

 The colon or large intestine is a part of digestive system, which stores and eliminates waste material left after the digestion of food in the small intestine. Diverticulosis is referred to as formation of small pouches or diverticula on the lining of intestine due to increased pressure of hard stools passing through the weakened intestine. The condition is associated with aging. People after the age of 40 are more likely to develop diverticulosis. Diverticulosis usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, hence remains unnoticeable. When diverticula get infected and inflamed, it can give rise to the symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, changes in bowel habits and fever. Diverticulosis and its complications including diverticulitis can be collectively referred to as diverticular disease.

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Causes of Diverticular Disease

Pressure within the colon gives rise to bulging tissue sacs that protrude from the colonic walls. These sacs are identified as diverticula and the condition is known as diverticulosis. Diverticula can be formed throughout the colon; however, the most common site is the sigmoid colon, the end of the left colon. When the diverticulum ruptures and gets infected, the condition is known as diverticulitis.

The exact causes of diverticular disease are unknown. Consumption of low-fiber diet is supposed to be the major contributing factor. People who eat more processed foods like white rice or white bread are at higher risk of developing diverticular disease. Some other factors that can increase the risk of diverticulosis are aging, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. Reduced strength and elasticity of bowel wall due to aging increases the risk of diverticular disease.

Symptoms of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Diverticulosis is usually asymptomatic; means the sufferer don’t notice any symptoms. Many people are not aware of having diverticulosis. They come to know about it during routine screening examinations for other intestinal problems. When multiple diverticula are present, the normal functioning of the bowel can be affected. This may give rise to the symptoms like abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, diarrhea and flatulence. In some cases, there may be blood in faeces, if diverticulum gets inflamed or if it is present near the blood vessel. The sufferer may experience anemia, if repeated bleeding occurs.

On the other hand, diverticulitis can be diagnosed during an acute attack. The symptoms are quite severe and can start suddenly. Some of the common signs and symptoms of diverticulitis are abdominal pain and tenderness, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, bloating, changes in bowel habits and fever.

Some of the possible complications of diverticular disease include formation of fistula, abscess in the large intestine, perforation (hole or tear in the colon), peritonitis and hemorrhage.

Diagnosis of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

If suspected, diverticulosis and diverticulitis can be diagnosed on the basis of a variety of tests. The colon can be visualized by barium X-rays. Diverticula can be seen as barium-filled pouches that protrude from the colon wall. Sigmoidoscopes or colonoscopes are used to make direct visualization of inside of the colon and openings of diverticula. This test is helpful for the confirmation of diagnosis and to rule out possibility of other diseases that can resemble diverticular disease. If the patient is suspected for diverticulitis, then ultra-sound and computerized tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis can be performed to detect inflammation of tissues surrounding the ruptured diverticulum.

Treatment for Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Most people with diverticulosis have no noticeable symptoms and they don’t need any medical treatment. The normal fiber diet is recommended to prevent constipation and to prevent formation of more diverticula. Patients with mild symptoms like abdominal pain may benefit from anti-spasmodic drugs like dicyclomine, chlordiazepoxide, phenolbarbital and hyoscyamine.

In cases of diverticulitis, when the symptoms are quite painful and severe, antibiotics are required. Oral antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, cephalexin, metronidazole and doxycycline are prescribed. For acute attacks of diverticulitis, liquid or low-fiber diet is advised to take along with antibiotics. Patients with severe diverticulitis with extreme pain and high fever are advised to be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics. Surgery is required for those with persistent bowel obstruction or abscess.

Diverticular disease is a very painful condition that can affect the quality of life. You can prevent it by means of balanced lifestyle, consumption of high-fiber foods, regular exercising and staying away from unhealthy habits.

FAQ : Frequently Asked Questions

 With aging, the intestinal walls tend to weaken. The pressure inside the colon increases, when the stool passes through the weakened bowels. It results in the formation of small, bulging pouches, called as diverticula. This condition is referred to as diverticulosis. Large intestine or colon is the most common site to develop diverticula. When diverticula get infected or inflamed, it is known as diverticulitis, which causes painful symptoms. Let’s understand more about diverticulitis through frequently asked questions.

1.      What is diverticulitis?

–          Diverticulitis can be described as infection or inflammation of diverticula that are developed along the intestinal wall. Aging, intake of foods less in fiber, obesity, inactive lifestyle, lack of exercise and unhealthy habits like smoking and alcoholism are the major contributing factors for diverticulitis.

2.      What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

–          Diverticulosis is usually asymptomatic. But, diverticulitis may cause painful and severe symptoms. Abdominal pain is the most prominent symptom of diverticulitis. Pain is usually located in the lower left side of the abdomen. The patient may also experience tenderness in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, bloating, altered bowel movements like constipation or diarrhea as well as high fever and malaise. Abdominal pain may reduce after bowel movements.

3.      Diverticulitis flare up: what to do?

–          Diverticulitis flare up is the stage, in which active symptoms of the disease are experienced. Diverticulitis is characterized by infection or inflammation of diverticula. When the symptoms of inflammation and infection are evident, the sufferer is considered to have a flare up. The most common symptoms found in flare up include pain and tenderness in abdominal region, difficulty in urination, changes in bowel habits like constipation or diarrhea, stomach upset and fever. A diverticulitis flare up may be accompanied by bleeding in the digestive tract in some cases.

The best treatment to manage diverticulitis flare up symptoms is to bring out certain changes in your diet. During diverticulitis flare up, it is advised to consume a liquid diet, which includes water, plain soda, plain gelatin, ice chips and fruit juices without pulp. The purpose is to rest the bowels and flushing of the colon. It helps to prevent blockage or obstruction in the bowels. Remaining on liquid diet accelerates the healing process. When the symptoms are reduced, you can gradually take low-fiber diet. Additionally, you can take aloe vera juice, oregano oil and probiotics to eliminate the infection and heal inflammation. If the symptoms are severe, you may be prescribed antispasmodics to control spasms and stomach pain as well as antibiotics to eliminate infection and relieve the symptoms like abdominal pain and fever.

4.      Is diverticulitis hereditary?

–          Diverticulitis is not hereditary. In fact, it is an acquired disease. It is more prevalent in those who eat foods less in fiber and more of processed, high-fat foods. The possibility of developing diverticulitis increases with advanced age. However, if genetic factors are considered, it is observed that people with collagen disorders are more prone to developing diverticulitis.

5.      Is diarrhea a symptom of diverticulitis?

–          In diverticulitis, the sufferer experiences the symptoms related to gastrointestinal disturbance. There may be changes in bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation. The person experiences diarrhea, either alone or alternating with bouts of constipation.

6.      Diverticulitis and constipation: what to do?

–          Chronic constipation can be one of the major contributory factors for diverticulitis. Intake of low-fiber foods and more of processed foods can increase the risk of developing this condition. In order to prevent the disease and its recurrent attacks, you need to include more of fiber in your daily diet. Your daily fiber requirement is minimum 25-35 grams. Fiber makes the stool soft and bulky, allowing it to pass easily through the bowels and thus, prevents constipation. The foods that contain high amount of fiber are whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, fresh fruits like pears, apples and prunes, vegetables like broccoli, peas, squash and spinach as well as beans like kidney beans and black beans. When taking high-fiber foods, drink plenty of water and fluid to prevent constipation.

7.      Eating popcorn and diverticulitis

–          Previously, it was assumed that the foods like nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn, which are hard to digest, should be avoided by the people with diverticulitis. It was considered that these foods can get stuck in the diverticula, causing inflammation. However, according to the recent research studies, there is no scientific evidence to support this recommendation. On the contrary, nuts and seeds contain rich amount of fiber, which can be proved to be beneficial for those with diverticulitis. In fact, according to the evidence from a huge cohort of health professions, popcorn may give a protective effect against the complications of diverticulosis.

8.      Effects of alcohol and diverticulitis

–          Drinking alcohol can affect the condition and can aggravate the symptoms. Alcohol can increase the intensity and duration of diverticulitis attacks. Since alcohol may aggravate the inflammation in the gastric system, it results in increased pain and further complications. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with the action of medications and antibiotics. If you taking alcohol with medications, you may experience the symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. So patients with active flare ups should strictly avoid alcohol.

9.      Stress and diverticulitis flare up: Truth

–          It is seen that stress and emotional problems can worsen the diverticulitis flare up. Stress may cause increased contraction in the intestine, which may lead to the formation of diverticula. Also, stress may activate inflammation in the intestine. Therefore, stress management is an important aspect of diverticulitis treatment. Stress can be reduced with the help of yoga, meditation, tai chi etc.

10.  What to do on diverticulitis attack?

–          If diverticulitis attack is mild, it can be managed with dietary changes and home remedies. You can apply heating pad to the abdomen, which would help reduce pain and cramps. You may also try relaxation techniques like meditation to relieve pain. Take enough rest and keep your bowels relaxed. Initially, for 2-3 days, you are recommended to stay on liquid diet that includes plain water, clear broth, plain soda, ice chips, ice pops and pulpless fruit juices. When the symptoms are reduced, you can start with low-fiber diet, which includes canned or cooked fruits without seeds or skin, canned or cooked vegetables like potatoes, peas and green beans as well as eggs, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, low-fat yogurt, low-fiber cereals and white rice. Once you start feeling better, you can gradually switch to regular high-fiber diet. Always increase your fiber intake gradually; otherwise, you may trouble from bloating and flatulence. Also, drink plenty of water and fluids to prevent constipation. If the symptoms are severe, the doctor prescribes medications like anti-spasmodic drugs like dicyclomine, chlordiazepoxide, hyoscyamine and scopolamine as well as antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, cephalexin, metronidazole and doxycycline.

11.  Diverticulitis Recovery Time after Surgery

–          The most common procedure for diverticulitis surgery is colon resection, which involves removing of affected part of the colon and reattaching the ends. Recovery time after surgery depends upon various factors such as type of surgery and patient’s overall health. Recovery time and possibility of developing complications is more in case of conventional surgical method as compared to the laparoscopic colectomy. Generally, the single-step open partial colectomy may require 4-7 days of hospitalization, if no complications are developed. If partial colectomy is done in two stages, hospital stay can be longer. Two surgeries are done between 6-12 weeks. If laparoscopic surgery is done, 4-5 days hospitalization is needed. It can take about 6-8 weeks for complete recovery after one-stage open partial colectomy, or after the second surgery of two-stage surgery. When undergone a laparoscopic surgery, you may require about 3 weeks for the complete recovery.