Diverticulitis is one of the digestive system problems, which results from the formation of diverticula. With advanced age, certain changes take place in the body; weakening of intestinal walls is one of them. When the fecal matter passes through the weakened intestines, it causes increased pressure inside the colon. It results in the formation of small pouches or sacs along the lining of intestinal walls, which are known as diverticula. Although diverticula can be developed anywhere in the digestive system, colon or large intestine is the common site. The formation of diverticula is referred to as diverticulosis. When diverticula get infected or inflamed, it leads to a painful condition, called diverticulitis.
Causes and Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Other than aging, consumption of low-fiber diet is another important reason for developing diverticula. Those, who eat foods less in fiber and high amount of processed and high-fat foods, are at the increased risk of getting diverticulitis. Also, obesity, inactive lifestyle and smoking can increase the risk of diverticulitis.
Abdominal pain is the most significant symptom of diverticulitis. Pain is often experienced in the lower left side of the abdomen. The sufferer may feel relief after bowel movements. It is accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, sometimes vomiting, alteration in bowel habits like constipation or diarrhea and fever. In mild cases of diverticulitis, the sufferer may experience abdominal pain as well as bloating and flatulence.
Mild Diverticulitis Home Treatment
Mild diverticulitis is usually treated with oral antibiotics and antispasmodics. However, these medications can cause certain adverse effects. Home treatment can effectively help you to manage the symptoms of mild diverticulitis. Home remedies are also effective in reducing the chances of recurrent attacks of diverticulitis. What you have to do is to simply follow certain changes in lifestyle and dietary habits.
Mild pain and cramps can be relieved by applying a heating pad to your abdomen. You can also try relaxation techniques like meditation, which can help reduce mild pain. A nonprescription pain reliever like acetaminophen can be used. When you are suffering from diverticulitis attack, you are advised to remain on clear liquid diet. This kind of diet includes plain water, clear broth, plain gelatin, ice pops, gelatin and fruit juices without pulp. The purpose is to relax the bowels for some time. When the symptoms are reduced, you can gradually start with low-fiber diet, which includes low-fiber cereals, white rice, cooked or canned vegetables, cooked or canned fruits without pulp or seeds, eggs, poultry, fish, low-fat milk and milk products like yogurt and cheese. Once the symptoms fade away, you can slowly switch to regular high fiber diet.
In order to prevent recurrent attacks of diverticulitis, your daily diet should contain adequate amount of fiber. Daily requirement of fiber is about 25-30 grams. Some of the excellent sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, nuts and starchy foods like rice, bread and pasta. The fruits like pear, apple, orange, avocado, raspberries and banana, dried fruits like apricots and prunes, vegetables like beans, peas, French beans, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots as well as nuts like almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts and mixed are the excellent sources of fiber. Breakfast cereals like bran, oats, muesli and brown bread can also provide good amount of fiber.
When you are taking fiber-rich diet, you need to drink plenty of water and other fluids to prevent constipation. When you feel bowel urge, don’t fail to respond it. Delaying bowel movements can make the stool harder, which may require more force to pass through the colon. It causes increased pressure inside the colon, resulting in development of diverticula.
Along with dietary changes, you should follow regular exercise regimen. It not only helps to improve bowel functioning, but also helps to maintain healthy body weight. Also, stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking and alcoholism.
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