Diverticular disease consists of 2 major formations, diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the formation of numerous tiny pockets (diverticula) in the lining of the colon. Diverticula ranges from a pea-size to much more greater circumference are formed by rising pressure on some weak spots in your intestinal walls by gas, waste or liquid. Diverticula is developed during a bowel movement when straining coupled with constipation. They are more dominant in the sigmoid colon or better known as large intestines.
About 20% of people with diverticulosis can lead to various complications. One of these complications more seen is rectal bleeding or known as diverticular bleeding and the other, diverticulitis.
Diverticular bleeding happens when a patient has chronic injury to the small blood vessels that are adjacent to the diverticula. Diverticulitis happens when inflammation and infection is present in one or more diverticula. This usually happens when “pouchings” or small holes become blocked with waste, allowing bacteria to build up causing infection.
Diverticulosis is quite common and happens to 10% of people over 40 and in 50% of people over age 60. The predominance of diverticulosis increases with age and affects almost everyone over age 80.
At most times diverticulosis does not cause any symptoms but although some patients may feel cramps in their abdomen and a feel a bit of tenderness over the affected area.
People should seek medical attention because diverticulosis does not show any symptoms and it can only be detected through medical tests.
The good news is that people who have diverticulosis do not need treatment. Since ithe disease does not display any illness it is always a good prevention and treatment to adopt a high-fiber diet daily. On a more general note, laxatives should not be considered to treat diverticulosis as well as enemas should also be avoided.
Always practice a good bowel hygiene daily to prevent diverticular disease and/or reduce the complications from it. This totally eliminates constipation and straining. Eating appropriate amounts fiber-rich foods are important to sustain good health and proper bowel movement. Drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly are also important.
The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber rich foods a day. Regardless of the condition of diverticula a person should try to eat this much fiber every day. Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods. High-fiber foods would include whole grain breads, cereals; berries; fruit; vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, asparagus, squash and beans; brown rice; bran products; and cooked dried peas and beans, among other foods.
A high-fiber diet eliminates constipation and provides a number of other health benefits such as lowering the blood pressure, reducing blood cholesterol, improving your blood sugar and reducing your risk of developing certain intestinal disorders.
Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day improves motility in the intestines and with this effect it changes in bowel movements to a more fit condition.
"About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis."
A low-residue diet is recommended during the flare-up periods of diverticulitis to decrease bowel volume so that the infection can heal. An intake of less than 10 grams of fiber per day is generally considered a low residue diverticulitis diet. If you have been on a low-residue diet for an extended period of time, your doctor may recommend a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.