Diverticulitis (Overview)

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when small, bulging pouches formed in your digestive system become inflamed or infected. These pouches can become inflamed in any part of your digestive system, including your stomach, esophagus, and small intestine. However, diverticulitis is most commonly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of these pouches (known as: diverticula) on the outside of the colon. About a tenth of Americans over the age of 40, experience diverticulosis. Diverticulosis becomes more common as people age.  A staggering fifty percent of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis.

10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis and up with diverticulitis. Collectively, diverticulosis and diverticulitis are called diverticular disease.

Diverticulitis Symptoms

This condition can cause sudden, severe abdominal pain, typically focused on the lower left side of the abdomen. You may also have abdominal tenderness — again particularly on the lower left side. Changes in bowel habits, which include both diarrhea and constipation, are often diverticulitis symptoms.

Some individuals report bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Although not common, you may experience rectal bleeding.

Complexities of Diverticulitis

Infection, bleeding, perforations (tears), and blockages are all complications of diverticulitis.  Neglect or lack of diverticulitis treatment from progressing may cause serious illness.

Cause of Diverticulitis

The unproven dominant theory is that low-fiber intake is the main cause of diverticular disease.  First noticed in the U.S., and at about the same time processed foods were introduced into the American diet.  Process foods lack fiber and fibrous elements and produce inadequate enzyme activity. Processed foods = lifeless foods.

Industrialized countries are rife with low-fiber food consumption. A visit to your local grocery store will highlight this, as the concentration of processed foods dominates most aisles.  The foods which contain the most fiber are typically isolated to the produce section where your fruits and vegetables can be found.  Contrast this with countries in Asia and Africa where diverticulosis and diverticulitis are rare, where people eat high-fiber vegetable-based daily meals. Shop the outskirt of your store, where the freshest food items are sold. If you find yourself spending most of your time in the aisles, it’s likely you are consuming high amounts of low fiber, processed foods.

Fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains and has soluble & insoluble parts that your bodycannot digest. Some fiber dissolves easily in water (soluble fiber). It takes on a soft, jelly-like texture in the intestines. Some fiber passes almost unchanged through the intestines (insoluble fiber). Both kinds of fiber help make stools soft and easy to pass. Fiber also prevents constipation, and normalizes bowel movements.

Constipation makes the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. It is the main cause of increased pressure in the colon. This excess pressure might cause the weak spots in the colon to bulge out and become diverticula.

Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula become infected or inflamed. Doctors are not certain what causes the infection. It may begin when stool or bacteria are caught in the diverticula. An attack of diverticulitis can develop suddenly and without warning.

Diverticulitis Tests & Diagnosis

Because acute abdominal pain can indicate a number of conditions, your doctor will want to perform tests and procedures to rule out other conditions such as appendicitis, stomach ulcers, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cancer, ectopic pregnancy, or inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis and Crohn’s disease. To determine the source of your abdominal pain, your doctor will check your abdomen for tenderness and check your white blood cells for infection. Your physician may order a colonoscopy or imaging test like a CT scan in order to view any infected or inflamed pouches that are diverticulitis symptoms.

Diverticulosis with symptoms is usually medically treated. This therapy is designed to soften stools and help them pass faster, which removes the conditions that cause diverticula in the first place.

Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition.

Diverticulitis Diet

Your doctor may prescribe a diverticulitis diet similar to the one in this FREE comprehensive diverticulitis diet eBook if you have certain diverticulitis diet concerns, such as after bowel surgery or if you have certain digestive problems, such as inflammation of your intestine (enteritis) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

What you’ll gain access to

  1. History of Diverticulitis
  2. Epidemiology of Diverticulitis
  3. Signs, Symptoms of Diverticulitis
  4. In-Depth look at the Cause of Diverticulitis
  5. Diagnosis of Diverticulitis
  6. Complications of Diverticulitis
  7. Treatment of Diverticulitis
  8. A Diverticulitis Diet

Click here to learn more! Buy the Diverticulitis Diet eBook by itself for just $7.99!

Related Links: High Fiber Diet | High Fiber Foods | Low Fiber Diet | Low Residue Diet

Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet may help reduce symptoms of diverticulosis and prevent complications such as diverticulitis or take a daily supplement like FiberGI.

Fiber keeps stool soft and lowers pressure inside the colon so that bowel contents can move through easily. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.

Until recently, many doctors suggested avoiding foods with small seeds such as tomatoes or strawberries because they believed that particles could lodge in the diverticula and cause inflammation. However, it is now generally accepted that only foods that may irritate or get caught in the diverticula cause problems. Foods such as nuts, popcorn hulls, and sunflower, pumpkin, caraway, and sesame seeds should be avoided. The seeds in tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, and raspberries, as well as poppy seeds, are generally considered harmless. People differ in the amounts and types of foods they can eat. Decisions about diet should be made based on what works best for each person. Keeping a food diary may help identify individual items in one’s diet.

If cramps, bloating, and constipation are problems, the doctor may prescribe a short course of pain medication. However, many medications affect emptying of the colon, an undesirable side effect for people with diverticulosis.

Treatment for Diverticulitis

Mild cases of diverticulitis typically can be relieved with dietary changes, rest, and sometimes antibiotics. A low-fiber diet will be advised while in the midst of an acute attack, although the long-term treatment of diverticulitis includes a high-fiber diet. To control your pain, your doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever.

Research also suggests that people who have diverticulitis may not have enough of the “good” bacteria thriving in their colons. Thus, ingesting a probiotics supplement or foods with probiotics may be an alternative and effective diverticulitis treatment for some people.

For more moderate or severe episodes of diverticulitis, you may be required to have hospital stay lasting a few days to a week. This is especially the case if you’ve developed an abscess or if your doctor feels you are at risk for peritonitis, which is a bowel instruction. While in the hospital, you’ll likely receive intravenous antibiotics.

Lastly, serious cases of diverticulitis may necessitate surgery, particularly if you have a fistula, perforation, abscess, or recurring diverticulitis. Surgery will be performed to remove the diseased section of your colon.

The surgery will be one of two types. In a primary bowel resection, the surgeon will reconnect the healthy sections of your colon after removing the diseased sections. On the other hand, with a bowel resection with colostomy, the surgeon creates an opening in your abdomen, for which waste will pass through into a bag. Once your inflammation has healed, a second operation may be possible to reconnect your rectum and colon.

For a person suffering from diverticulitis, it is recommended to:

Watch Diverticulitis Video testimonials from individuals who currently take SEROVERA.

The possibility of surgery

If your attacks are severe and/or frequent, your doctor may advise surgery.  Surgery consists of removing the affected part of your colon and joining the remaining sections. This procedure is known as a colon resection, and it aims to keep attacks from coming back and prevent further complications.

Emergency surgery usually involves two operations. The first surgery will clear the infected abdominal cavity and remove part of the colon. Because of infection and sometimes obstruction, it is not safe to rejoin the colon during the first operation. Instead, the surgeon creates a temporary hole, or stoma, in the abdomen. The end of the colon is connected to the hole, a procedure called a colostomy, to allow normal eating and bowel movements. The stool goes into a bag attached to the opening in the abdomen. In the second operation, the surgeon rejoins the ends of the colon.

If you have a large abscess, perforation, peritonitis, or continued bleeding, you’ll likely need emergency surgery.

Action Items

Diverticulitis is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.