The condition called diverticulosis is associated with the formation of diverticula. Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that are developed along the lining of intestinal walls. They may be formed anywhere in the digestive system, including stomach, esophagus or small intestine. However, large intestine is the most common site.
The condition is mainly related to aging. The intestinal walls become weak due to aging and when the hard stool passes through the weakened bowels, the pressure inside the colon increases, leading to the formation of diverticula. When diverticula get infected, it results in inflammation; the condition is referred to as diverticulitis.
Consumption of low-fiber diet, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking are the major contributing factors for diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is characterized by the symptoms like pain and tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen, nausea, sometimes vomiting, bloating and changes in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation.
The conventional treatment option for diverticulitis includes medications like antibiotics, analgesics and anti-spasmodic drugs. Oral antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, cephalexin, metronidazole and doxycycline are given in severe cases. If the patient is not responding to the antibiotics or if complications like formation of fistula, abscess, perforation or peritonitis are developed, then surgery is the recommended treatment option. Antibiotics can cause certain adverse effects like nausea, fatigue and malaise as well as allergic reactions in some cases.
Diet Treatment for Diverticulitis
Following dietary changes is the most important aspect of diverticulitis treatment. Since intake of low-fiber diet is considered to be the major cause of diverticulitis, the sufferer is advised to include more of fiber in daily diet. When the symptoms are severe, the patient is recommended to take liquid diet for 2-3 days. The purpose is to soothe the digestive tract. The clear liquid diet includes plain water, ice chips, ice pops, plain gelatin, broth, clear soda and pulp-less fruit juice. Even tea or coffee without cream can also help. Once the symptoms are reduced and the patient starts feeling better, then low-fiber foods can be started. They may include milk, eggs, plain yogurt, fish, low-fiber cereals and pulp-less fruit juices. Canned or cooked fruits and vegetables are also the good options. The patient can also take desserts with no nuts or seeds, plain noodles, and white rice. When the person is no longer suffering from the diverticulitis symptoms, he can gradually switch to high-fiber diet.
In order to prevent recurrent attacks of diverticulitis, your regular diet should be rich in the foods that contain abundance of fiber, such as whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, fresh fruits like pears, apples and prunes, vegetables like potatoes, peas, squash and spinach as well as beans like kidney beans and black beans. Your daily fiber intake should be at least 25-35 grams. When suffering from diverticulitis, the foods like processed foods, nuts, refined products like white rice and white flour, chili peppers, sesame seeds, fats and creamy sauces as well as junk foods should be avoided. Along with dietary changes, regular exercise regimen is also very important.
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