Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticuli in the colon rupture. The rupture results in infection in the tissues that surround the colon. The colon (large intestine) is a long tube-like structure that stores and then eliminates waste material. Pressure within the colon causes bulging pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colonic walls as a person ages. A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is called a diverticulum.
More than one bulging sac is referred to in the plural as diverticula. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left colon referred to as the sigmoid colon. The condition of having these diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis.
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An individual suffering from diverticulitis may have abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, and fever. When bleeding originates from a diverticulum, it is called diverticular bleeding.
Dietary Modifications For Diverticulitis:
- Liquid or low fiber foods are advised during acute attacks of diverticulitis. This is done to reduce the amount of material that passes through the colon, which at least theoretically, may aggravate the diverticulitis.
- In severe diverticulitis with high fever and pain, patients are hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics. Surgery is needed for patients with persistent bowel obstruction or abscess not responding to antibiotics.
- Otherwise diets high in fiber increases stool bulk and prevents constipation, and theoretically may help prevent further diverticular formation or worsening of the diverticular condition. Some doctors recommend avoiding nuts, corn, and seeds which can plug diverticular openings and cause diverticulitis. Whether avoidance of such foods is beneficial is unclear.
- Increasing the fiber and fluid content of the diet helps in produces more bulk in the stool, reducing pressure in the colon and assisting the more regular and complete elimination of waste, thereby preventing the formation of further diverticula.
- Diet must contain good quantities of whole grains, legumes and pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, eggs, lean meat and lot of fluids.