Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a form of digestive disease which results in the formation of pouches known as diverticula within the bowel wall. This process of formation of diverticula is known as diverticulosis and normally occurs within the large intestine or colon and can infrequently occur in small intestine too. Diverticula pouches do not essentially results in uneasiness. The problem occurs when particles of waste or food start accumulating in these pouches and this leads to inflammation. Diverticulitis is the condition when one of these diverticula gets inflated or infected.

This disease is common in people above the age of 40 in modern countries. The risk of acquiring diverticulitis increases with the age. Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from this disease at and above 40 years of age and this percentage increases to roughly 50 percent over 60 years of age.

Lack of dietary fiber especially non-soluble fiber is long established to be the key cause of disposition of a person to diverticular disease within the medical journalism.  Though, the first study particularly conducted to test the assumption discovered that a high-fiber diet and augmented occurrence of bowel movements are connected with larger incidence of diverticulosis. Fiber aids in adding bulk to the stool and without it, the colon is required to work hard than normal to thrust the stool onward. The pressure that arises from this may result in formation of pouches (diverticula) in feeble spots along the colon. Diverticulitis takes place when feces get blocked in these pouches allowing the growth of bacteria in these pouches which can cause inflammation or infection.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of diverticulitis may persist for a few hours or for a week or more. Most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain and widespread sign is tenderness in the region of lower left side abdomen. One may experience nausea, vomiting, fever, cramping and constipation as well if diverticulitis is caused by infection. The severity of symptoms may vary with the degree of the infection and complications. During the first day it may begin with small pains and/or diarrhea and may gradually take shape of vomiting and sharp pains, thereby getting worse throughout the day.

The inception of diverticulitis symptoms can be rapid and stern or they can be mild and slowly growing in intensity. If the treatment of diverticulitis is not done on time then it can result in formation of an abscess, perforation of the colon or peritonitis which is a deadly infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity. Therefore, it is vital to treat the disease before it poses threat to life.

Diagnosis of Diverticulitis

Doctors may assess the symptoms and may ask for some tests to be performed to see if a person has an infection or to ensure that there are no other major problems. Following tests may be ordered:
Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC).
X-ray or a CT scan

Preventing Diverticulitis Naturally

People may be initially asked to eat low residue diet since this diet will give the colon sufficient time to restore to health without necessitating overworking. And afterwards, patients are asked to ingest a high-fiber diet once they start feeling better.

Diverticulitis was first publicly reported in United States in the early 1900s, which was roughly the same period when processed foods were introduced to the American diet. These processed refined foods typically contains less amount of natural fiber, therefore, these processed and refined foods appeared to be the major cause for the exclusion of fiber in the diet of most of the people who suffered from diverticular disease. The rise in diverticular disease is also seen with the shift from largely vegetarian diet to mainly meat-based diets, currently eaten by most residents of America. Consequently, so as to either avert or treat diverticular disease, a good quality dietary program is vital. To know more about how to improve your digestive health, please click here.

One may prevent diverticulitis by drinking plenty of water, doing exercise regularly and eating a high-fiber diet inclusive of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is of utmost importance to eat a natural diet of unprocessed foods that are high in plant-based fiber. Avoid fried foods, fast foods, junk foods, processed and refined foods. Lean plain poultry and wild-caught fish are good supply of high quality proteins, similar to whole grains for example brown rice, quinoa, teff and oats. Gluten containing wheat, barley and rye can aggravate symptoms in several people. A whole foods diet should comprise of ample of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Eat salads twice or more in a day and drink plenty of water and fresh juices. Papaya is packed with useful digestive enzymes. Exercise is another vital solution in preventing diverticulitis. Regular exercise aids in strengthening and toning the abdomen muscles, further aiding in digestion.

Colloidal silver known as nature’s antibiotic is very helpful in treating diverticulitis or any other infection. It successfully kills bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, even in situations where antibiotics do not succeed. Furthermore, colloidal silver decreases inflammation and mends wounded tissue.

One should try to prevent inflammation and infection that leads to diverticulitis. Some of the measures are to avoid foods that aggravate the bowel or increase inflammation, use of natural anti-inflammatory foods and medicines, include probiotics and omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet, and implement essential dietary and lifestyle change. To know more about Inflammation and how to avoid it, please click here.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B Complex – It aids in proper digestion and recommended dose is 100 mg thrice a day.
L-Glutamine – It preserves the absorption layer of the gut called villi. Recommended dose is 500 mg twice a day. It can be taken with water or juice but by no means with milk.
Vitamin C – It acts as anti-inflammatory and improves immunity. A minimum of 3000 to 8000 mg in divided doses per day is advised.

Essential Herbs

Peppermint Oil - Peppermint oil is extensively used to cure irritable bowel syndrome and also diverticulitis. It can ease spasm of the colon, consequently, the abdominal pain and decreases gas formation and hence bloating. Peppermint is believed to be a carminative herb and is used to get rid of surplus gas in the intestines. Peppermint oil should only be used in the form of enteric-coated capsules and not in other available forms. They should be taken only after medical consultation as they can occasionally cause side-effects such as nausea and perianal burning.

Alfalfa - Alfalfa is a natural source of vitamin K and vital minerals that the majority of people with intestinal disorders lack.

Flax  - One to three tablespoons of crushed flaxseed taken with lots of water twice or thrice a day can be used to treat diverticulitis.

Psyllium - High-fiber psyllium seed is the major ingredient in commercially available laxatives and offers a healthy amount of fiber to the body to prevent diverticulitis. Take a few tablespoons with plenty of water daily

Slippery elm - Bark powder of slippery elm is used by several herbalists to cure diverticulitis. It contains large amount of a mild laxative that relieves the digestive tract. The Food and Drug Administration has also affirmed slippery elm as a safe and effectual digestive alleviator.

Other herbs that can be beneficial in treating diverticulitis are camomile, prune, wild yam, red clover and yarrow.