The Diverticulitis Disease Diet: Diverticulitis, a digestive disease that causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, colon infection, and gastrointestinal bleeding, is prevented by following these health tips…
What’s the difference between diverticulosis and diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis (dahy-ver-tik-yuh-lahy-tis) and diverticulosis (dahy-ver-tik-yuh-loh-sis) are both part of diverticular disease, a digestive system disorder involving the diverticula, or “pouches” that line the lower part of the colon. If you have diverticulosis, then you might never suffer any of the symptoms of diverticular disease. A colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or barium enema is required in order to diagnose diverticulosis.
However, if diagnosed with diverticulitis, then you might experience symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomachaches, fever, and urinary problems, indicating an inflammation of your diverticula (colonic pouches).
What are the risks of diverticulitis?
Your physician may diagnose diverticulitis by taking an X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or blood test, in addition to colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy; then, medical intervention, possibly surgery, is crucial in order to prevent the following complications:
- Diverticular bleeding (burst blood vessels)
- Obstruction in the colon
- Abscess (pus pocket)
- Fistula (abnormal connection)
- Peritonitis (abdominal infection)
- Sepsis (widespread infection)
- Rupture in colon
What is the best way to prevent diverticulitis?
Following a diverticulitis diet is the single best way to avoid severe damage to your digestive system, and prevent a trip to the operating room. Here are some helpful tips:
1- Increase fiber intake.
Scientists are uncertain what causes diverticulitis, but they do know that it is most common among people who consume low-fiber diets. Prevent diverticulitis or diverticulosis by including both soluble and insoluble fibers in your diet. Eat generous helpings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with every meal.
2- Take care when eating seeds and nuts
Until recently, doctors universally advised patients of diverticulitis to avoid eating small, whole foods such as nuts, seeds, and corn. Modern medicine is in disagreement on that theory, with some experts advocating eating sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, corn-on-the-cob, and raw, unsalted nuts, as they are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and healthy oils.
Still, others advise staying away from nuts, seeds, and corn, in addition to dried fruits, beans, rinds, and seedy fruits such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.
3- Avoid constipation.
Constipation may lead to diverticulitis; large, heavy stools put pressure on your colon, causing your diverticula to expand during a bowel movement. Over time, frequent stretching of the diverticular walls may lead to a rupture, which requires surgery in order to avoid infection.
4- Drink water throughout the day.
Avoid dehydration, maintain a healthy metabolism, and expel impurities by drinking fresh water during and between meals. Avoid or reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and salt, as they contribute to dehydration by releasing bodily fluids.
Lack of exercise is associated with higher risks of diverticulitis, although scientists are unsure if sedentary lifestyles directly cause diverticulitis. Daily exercise is effective at preventing constipation and improving your metabolic rate, so if you have diverticulitis or diverticulosis, then thirty minutes of aerobic activity should be part of your daily prevention plan.