Our large intestine, which is also known as colon, is a tube-like structure that stores and eliminates waste material after digestion. If the colon is put through pressure in this process, it could lead to inflammation around its walls which is known as Diverticulitis.
This gastrointestinal disease causes inflammation of abnormal pouches or bulges (diverticula). Even though this disease is seen even in teenage, 50+ age groups are most affected by this.
What causes this?
There is no specific reason on what causes this, but most doctors believe that low-fiber diet may play a role in this. This is because, with less fiber, the colon has to push harder for the stool to come out resulting in the weak spot along colon which comes from pressuring it. Some of the risk factors for this disease include smoking, lack of physical exercise, lack of vitamin D, heredity and Obesity.
How do I find out if I have Diverticulitis?
The following are some of the symptoms
- Abdominal tenderness
- Persistent pain in the lower left side of the abdomen
- Bloating and gas
- Loss of appetite
When to see the doctor?
When you experience abdominal pain for more than one day. If the pain is worsening along with vomiting or/and any of the above symptoms then you should seek medical care immediately.
How can it be cured?
The following would be the treatments recommended by the doctor
- A short-term liquid diet which gives time for the digestive system to recover
- If the disease is not severe, the doctor will recommend you a low fiber diet
- A colonoscopy is recommended six to eight weeks post Diverticulitis
- Medications such as antibiotics and dietary supplements
- In severe cases, surgically removing the segment contacting diverticula is done under the doctor’s advice
What to eat and what not to eat if you’re at risk of having Diverticulitis?
Even though there is no specific food that is scientifically proven to help eliminate the chance of diverticulitis, the following foods can help avoid it:
What not to eat?
Popcorn and most seeds
What to eat?
Cooked animal proteins
Zucchini, pumpkin and yellow squash
Potatoes with no skin
Fruit and vegetable juices
Dry and low fiber cereals
Diverticulitis is a common problem with the elderly. Most of the time, it does not result in a serious threat. Treatments for uncomplicated diverticulitis can be done at home. However, it is always better to consult a doctor to prevent any further injuries.