Diverticulitis is a common disease that occurs when small pouches, known as diverticula, develop in the digestive tract and become inflamed. The condition usually occurs in people over forty years or older who consume a low-fiber diet. The reason it occurs is because your colon has to work harder to rid your body of wastes, and this creates weak spots in the intestinal walls. Other habits also contribute to diverticulitis, such as smoking and being sedentary.
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain with tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen. If infection is present there may also be vomiting, nausea, and/or cramping. Other illness, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) display similar symptoms, so, if you experience stomach problems, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
If diverticulitis is mild, there are things people can do to allieviate symptoms. These include:
- Avoid fatty foods
- Avoid refined carbohydrates
- Don’t put off bowel movements
- Drink lots of water
- Eat high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables
- Exercise at least thirty minutes a day
- Take a fiber supplement, such as Benefiber or Metamucil
- Use a heating pad to relieve pain