Information about diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticula – small pouches in your intestines – become inflamed or infected. These pouches typically form in the large intestine, but can form anywhere in the digestive tract. People with diverticulitis often find out that they have the condition when they experience symptoms such as abdominal pain that is sudden and severe; nausea and vomiting; irregular bowel habits; fever; constipation or diarrhoea; bloating; and, in rare cases, rectal bleeding.
The cause of diverticulitis is not certain. However, National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports that a low-fibre diet may increase the risk of developing diverticulitis. Low-fiber diets tend to cause improper digestion, which often leads to increased pressure within the colon. In time, a person who maintains a diet that lacks sufficient amounts of fibre may develop diverticular inflammation or infection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, diverticulitis rarely occurs in countries where people eat a diet that is rich in fibre. In developed countries where refined foods make up a large part of the diet, however, this condition is far more prevalent.
In addition to consuming too little fibre, other risk factors for diverticulitis include:
- Sedentary lifestyle – Regular exercise is important for healthy digestion. Individuals who live sedentary lifestyles are more susceptible to developing diverticula, but can improve the health of their digestive system by taking on a higher level of physical activity on a regular basis.
- Ageing – The Mayo Clinic reports that individuals who are over 40 are at higher risk possible because the elasticity and strength of the bowel wall decreases with age.
- Obesity – Overweight individuals typically have less healthy digestive systems and are more susceptible to diverticular bleeding and diverticulitis.
If you have questions about a healthy diet for diverticulitis, see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian. A proper treatment plan will be created for you so that you can restore your digestive health.