Diverticulitis And Diet
What Is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is another one of those conditions that has followed from industrialisation, and a fundamental change in eating habits to a diet of processed food. The condition emerged after milling became commonplace in Western countries, starting in the US. Milling grains strips out valuable fibre, and since the early 20th century a shortage of fibre in diets has been commonplace amongst the American, and other Western, population.
Diverticulitis actually follows on from a condition called diverticulosis, which tends to come with age, particularly over 60. Diverticulosis is quite common, and past the age of 60 about half the population have this condition. With diverticulosis people experience the formation of small pouches in the intestinal tracts. These pouches are called diverticula. They are, in themselves, harmless, and most people never know they have them.
If diverticula become inflamed or infected, however, then the patient will experience pain in the abdominal region. Only a relatively small percentage of people with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis, and many of these are mild cases which can be treated with rest and diet change. More serious cases may require surgery.
What Should A Diverticulitis Diet Include?
If diverticulitis has been diagnosed by your doctor, and is confirmed as a mild case, then your doctor will probably recommend some dietary changes. Although a shortage of fibre in the diet over a number of years may have caused the condition, once you have it, your doctor may ask you to cut down on fibre even more for a few days, as it may aggravate the pain.
Your treatment is likely to include antibiotics to kill the infection, and it is vital you finish your course and take your doctor’s advice. In about half of cases of diverticulitis, the patient will be hospitalised; the other half will be treated at home. So it is wise while you are home to stick to the diverticulitis diet recommended by your doctor.
When the infection is cleared and the diverticulitis is no longer a problem, then you will be able to concentrate on prevention, but again you should take your doctor’s advice.
Diverticulitis Prevention Diet
The cause of diverticulosis is a diet too low in fibre. The prevention of the condition should therefore attempt to redress that balance. The diverticulitis diet should be well balanced, but include high fibre foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I am sure you have heard that before when a healthy diet is mentioned. Such a diet can help prevent a number of chronic diseases.
A fibre supplement may be helpful. I have used psyllium for more than a decade, and find it an excellent source of soft fibre, and for cleansing the digestive system it is ideal, as the psyllium forms a gel like texture when mixed with water.
The water itself plays an important role in producing a soft stool, and especially when mixed with fibre. So, you should have plenty of water in your diverticulitis diet. Throw in half an hour exercise a day, and your bowel and digestive system should keep in good shape.
Roy Thomsitt is the owner and part author of”, ”)