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Introduction to Diverticulitis

Diverticula are small, bulging sacks that can form anywherein the digestive system (but are mostly found in the large intestine). Diverticula arevery common and associated with ageing. It is estimated that 50% of people havediverticula by the time they are 50 years old, and 70% of people have them bythe time they are 80 years old. They may not cause any problemswhatsoever, but sometimes they can cause diverticulitis, which is aninflammation or an infection of diverticula in the intestinal wall.

The exact cause of diverticulitis is not known, but thereare certain theories. One theory is that theincreased pressure in the colon may lead to breakdown of the wall of thediverticula, thus leading to an infection. Another is anobstruction in the narrow opening of a diverticulum may reduce blood supply tothe area, which leads to an inflammation. However, none of thesetheories have been proven.

Symptoms and Treatment

The most common symptoms of this condition include: pain inthe lower left side of the abdomen, fever, nausea sometimes accompanied byvomiting, weight loss, abdominal tenderness, constipation, diarrhea, bloatingand rectal bleeding (but this is very rare).

The treatment plan usually involves antibiotics. In rarecases, if the patient has an abscess, a perforated colon, or a fistula, issurgery necessary as a form of treatment.

Diet for Diverticulitis

Although the diet itself is not a cure for this condition,it can significantly help one feel better while undergoing therapy. The doctorwill probably prescribe a diet for the patient to eat at home.The purpose of a prescribed diet is to give the digestivesystem a rest while the doctor is treating the problem.

However, the patient will be prescribed a diet thatcorresponds to his medical state. For instance, if the patient is sufferingfrom an attack at that time, the doctor will recommend that they stick on a clearliquid diet for two or three days. This means that the patient should only haveplain water, fruit juices, broths, tea or coffee (without cream), plaingelatin, ice chips, ice pops without bits of fruit or pulp in it, etc.

Then, as the patient starts to feel better, it will beadvised that they slowly introduce low-fiber food. This includes: milk (andyogurt and cheese), eggs, enriched white bread, canned fruit, tender meat,white rice, well-cooked vegetables, smooth peanut butter, poultry, and fish, etc.

When the patient has recovered from diverticulitis, ahigh-fiber diet should be introduced. This means that he is able to eat brownrice, plenty of vegetables, legumes, whole-grain bread and cereals, fruit, etc.

With the help of a healthy, managed diet, and the treatment,the symptoms should subside and cause no more problems.

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