Diverticulitis occurs when pockets called diverticula form in the walls of the intestines and become inflamed or infected.
This most commonly happens in the colon (the large intestine).
Diverticulosis, the present of the pockets without inflammation or infection, is often is present without symptoms and is seen in approximately 40% of colonoscopies.
- Blood in stool
- Constant and severe stomach pain, most commonly on the lower left side.
Causes of Diverticulitis
A combination of a weakened bowel wall plus straining due to hard to pass stools results in bulges or protrusions. These bulges are the diverticula. As with all digestive conditions, there is a crossover in the symptoms of bloating, altered bowel movements, and pains. However, if the diverticula become infected and diverticulitis (inflamed diverticular) additional symptoms can present themselves.
The thinking behind how diverticular disease develops has changed. Currently it appears to be multifactorial and involves a possible combination of the following:
Low Fibre Intake
High Red Meat Intake
Slow Colonic Motility
Chronic Use of NSAIDs
Low Vitamin D levels
Low Physical Acitivity
Supporting Diverticulitis with Diet
It was initially believed that corn, nuts, and seeds should be avoided in diverticular disease as there were concern fragments would become lodges in the bulges.
This has now been revised as high fibre foods (which include corn, nuts, and seeds) are generally encouraged as they can make it easier to go to the toilet. I must reinforce that there is not a one size fits all approach to these conditions and if you know that certain food makes you feel worse removing it for a period of time may be of benefit.
The benefit of working with an experienced practitioner is that they can help to guide you through this maze.
Dietary support is based around 3 fundamental areas;
Encouraging regular and easy to pass bowel movements
Supporting the intestinal lining