Diverticulosis is characterized by the presence of diverticula (small out pouching) in the weakened area of the wall of the large intestine. The diverticula are most commonly found in the sigmoid colon. In around 10% of the patients suffering from diverticular disease, complications develop. Some of these complications are inflammation of the diverticular (also known as diverticulitis), obstruction or blockage and bleeding.
Causes of diverticular disease
There is no known cause of diverticular disease. According to many physicians, intake of a diet that is low in roughage or fiber is the major cause of the disease.
Symptoms of diverticular disease
Both diverticulosis and diverticulitis present with different symptoms.
Symptoms of Diverticulosis :
There are no symptoms present in many patients suffering from diverticulosis; however, some patients may develop abdominal cramping and bloating and symptoms of constipation. Passage of bright red blood through rectum indicates the occurrence of bleeding. The bleeding is usually painless; however, it is recommended to consult your doctor right away if bleeding occurs as it can be dangerous.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis :
Diverticulitis may present with many symptoms such as pain in lower abdomen, fever, feeling sick, vomiting, nausea, or change of bowel habits.
How is diverticular disease diagnosed ?
The diagnosis of diverticular disease includes :
- CT scan
- History taking
- Blood tests
- Stool sampling
- Digital rectal exam
- X ray and barium enema
Treatment of diverticular disease
Treatment of diverticular disease depends on the severity of the disease and whether you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis.
Treatment of diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is treated by modifying the diet in the form of including fiber rich foods. You may also get relief by trying mild pain killers.
Treatment of diverticulitis
To treat diverticulitis, your doctor may give your antibiotics and advice to be on a liquid diet. Majority of the patients get relief with this treatment. However, surgery and certain other treatments may be required in other patients.
Resection of the colon
Dietary modifications for diverticular disease
To prevent symptoms and complications, eat a diet rich in fiber. You can talk with your physician about using fiber supplements such as Citrucel, Metamucil or Benefiber.
Try to include the following foods more in your diet:
- Fresh fruits such as apples, pears, peaches and tangerines
- Vegetables such as squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots
- Starchy vegetables such as baked beans, potatoes, lima beans and kidney beans
- Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, bran flake cereal and brown rice