Diverticulitis involves small sacs that develop on the inner lining of the large intestine. These sacs or pouches become inflamed or infected due to small pieces of stool that end up trapped there. Currently there is no exact reasoning for the development of the sacs but doctors agree that most likely a low-fiber diet is to blame. Individuals that tend to consume processed foods including white rice, white bread, and pretzels are more prone to developing diverticulitis.
The condition is relatively common and often affects half of the population aged 60 and older who will also likely have problems with constipation. The strain and pressure in the colon due to hard stool may be the cause of the formation of the pouches.
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
For people experiencing diverticulitis, common symptoms may include cramping in the lower abdomen and bloating. There may also be blood present in their stool or found on toilet paper after a bowel movement. Fever and chills may also be a symptom of diverticulitis. Your appetite may be affected with no desire to eat and no feelings of hunger.
Testing and Treatment
Those with symptoms related to the condition may be tested by a doctor using blood tests, ultrasounds, or a CT scan. A doctor or gastroentologist will review your medical history and will blood work for signs of infection.
If diverticulitis is diagnosed, rest will be required and heat placed on the lower abdomen can help ease the discomfort. Pain medication may be prescribed as well as a liquid diet for a few days. Antibiotics may be necessary if there is an infection detected.
Prevention of Diverticulitis
There are some foods which may make the diverticulitis symptoms worse. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should avoid beans, coconut, popcorn, dried fruits, vegetable skins, tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers. Avoiding alcohol, tea, and coffee will also be useful as it can worsen constipation.
Untreated diverticulitis can lead to more serious health conditions including abscesses, tearing of the colon, and abnormal connections developing between other body areas.