By definition, diverticular disease represents a disorder in the formation of pouches, or diverticula, inside the colon and intestines. In this case, the pouches push against the delicate walls, which easily indicates a fiber deficiency in your diet.
When a diverticular disease develops, it can easily lead to diverticulitis, a more severe form of the condition. It is also worth mentioning that fiber can irritate the bowel, especially fiber in vegetables, so it is best to avoid it altogether.
Below, let’s discuss the symptoms of diverticular disease, how it manifests and what you can do about it.
Diverticular Disease: A Close Up
Diverticular disease mostly develops between the age of 40 and 50, and if untreated, can result in complications later on.
A study in the field showed that patients with diverticulosis had greater waistlines and a greater body mass. Today, diverticulosis is diagnosed in 10% of the patients, most between the age of 50-59 and over 80.
How does Diverticulosis Happen?
The diverticula pouches are developed when there is a gas or waste pressure, or sometimes liquid on the intestinal walls. In some cases, the pouches are a result of an improper bowel movement.
Diverticulosis, on the other hand, happens once diverticula are formed. In some cases, patients complained of cramping, slight bleeding in the bowel and constipation.
Other symptoms which connect to the disease include lower abdomen pain, chills, and fever. Other symptoms of the condition include:
- Increased urination
- Rectum bleeding
- Colon ruptures
- Pain in the left side of the abdomen
Risks of Suffering Diverticulitis
Some of the other risks which can lead to diverticulitis include:
- Poor nutrition.
- Insufficient exercise.
- Improper inhaling.
- Meds, such as opioids, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- High-fat foods and dairy products.
How to Prevent Diverticulitis?
One of the ways to reduce or prevent the symptoms of this condition is by introducing a fiber-based diet. At the same time, your nutrition should be low in fat and unprocessed.
Another contributing factor is exercise, which can alleviate constipation, and boost the circulation. In addition, to prevent the condition, you should hydrate regularly and avoid smoking.
Ideally, doctors suggest you take plenty of liquids and stick to eating soft foods, which will help reduce inflammation.
11 Foods Which Aggravate Diverticulitis Symptoms
Although there is no obvious cause of diverticulitis, some foods can irritate the bowel and intestines, thus worsening the condition.
As per the National Institute of Health, some foods are a trigger of diverticulitis symptoms, which is why a proper diet needs to be established.
Medical experts suggest there are two sorts of diets which can estimate the condition. The first one is the High FODMAP diet, which focuses on treating a variety of digestive issues. The second diet is the Low FODMAP diet, which also comes recommended in the treatment of various conditions.
Some of the worse foods which aggravate the condition include:
1. Dairy foods, ice cream, cheese, and butter. To make the right substitutes, alternate soft cheese for hard, and use olive instead of butter.
5. Brussels sprouts;
6. Onions and garlic;
7. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi;
8. Whole grains, including brown rice, oats, quinoa, and bulgur;
9. Vegetables, like broccoli, peppers, and corn. It is best you avoid these because they contain lots of sugar and can lead to cramping, making their digestion that more difficult.
10. Fruits, like pears, apples, and plums.
12. Fat-infused foods, like chips, fried products, and junk food. Mainly, these foods can increase the tissue inflammation, and lead to digestive issues and gastrocolic reflex.
Some of the main reasons these foods are not on the ‘favorable’ list is because they can create plenty of gas and cause additional complications.
If you are a fan of vegetables, you can steam or boil them to make the most of their fiber content. The same goes for fruit, which if you love, you should consume it well peeled. As for dairy, opt for soymilk or almond milk instead of fatty products.
Available Diverticulitis Treatments
Thankfully, if caught on time, diverticulitis can be treated accordingly with:
- Taking anti-infection antibiotics. Still, if you are facing a milder form of the condition, these may not be necessary.
- Sticking to a liquid diet. Try eating light foods for a few days, so you avoid upsetting the bowel. As soon as the symptoms fade, you can go back to eating solid foods.
- Taking over-the-counter painkillers.
In more complicated cases, the condition may result in surgery. This mostly happens if:
- You have a bowel abscess or a fistula.
- You have reoccurring symptoms, with severe side-effects.
- Your immunity is compromised.
Foods Which Help Treat Diverticulitis
Aside from treating it medically, you can also alleviate discomfort by dieting right. Some of the best ways to naturally relieve symptoms of diverticulitis include:
• Pulp-free juices;
• Plain water;
• Plain coffee and tea, free of milk or cream;
• Cooked fruits, peel and seed free;
• Canned fruits;
• Vegetable juices;
• Eggs and poultry;
• Pasta and rice;
• Digestive enzymes;
• Herbs, such as garlic, green tea, ginger, and turmeric;
• Essential oils, such as lavender oil, applied topically;
Regardless of natural remedies, if you experience more severe symptoms, don’t hesitate to ask for medical assistance, instead of treating the condition on your own.