Introduction to Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is a condition of inflammation. The walls of the intestines balloon out forming pouches where undigested food particles, small seeds, [e.g. strawberries, raspberries] lodge. These pouches, called diverticula, become perforated (torn), infected and inflamed.
Diverticula, due to frequent constipation and eating a low fiber diet, which is typical in the USA, contributes to the development of diverticulitis [“itis” meaning inflammation]. Low fiber diets produce maladaptive changes in the colon resulting in increased pressure that can cause pouches to form at weak points in the wall of the colon. When there is insufficient fiber to add bulk and the inability to soften stool, stools are harder to pass.
Other causes that are associated with diverticulitis include a family history of the disease, thyroid deficiency, emotional stress causing colon spasm, hidden food allergies, and may be related to vascular disorders or gallbladder disease as well as obesity, or a poor diet . It is well known that stress and smoking make symptoms worse.
Diverticulitis is usually associated with constipation, but bouts of diarrhea should not be overlooked as well. Diarrhea is the result of insult and injury to the cells of the small intestine.
With diarrhea there is dehydration and a loss of electrolytes. Fluids are very important for colon health as fluids help rid the body of toxins. Tests should be conducted to see if there is a bacterial infection, viral infection, or parasitic infection.
**NOTE: artificial sweeteners cause diarrhea.
Symptoms of diverticulitis include episodes of lower abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel habits, and a sense of fullness in the abdomen. With chronic or severe cases, there might be fever, tenderness and rigidity of the abdomen over the area of the intestine involved.
People may experience:
Pain areas: in the abdomen
Gastrointestinal: bloating, blood in stool, change in bowel habits, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence
Whole body: chills, fever, or loss of appetite
Also common: cramping
Consult a doctor for medical advice