What are diverticulosis and diverticulitis?
Many people have small pouches in the lining of the colon, or large intestine, that bulge outward through weak spots. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. About 10 percent of Americans older than 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people older than 60 have diverticulosis.
Diverticula are most common in the lower portion of the large intestine, called the sigmoid colon. When the pouches become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Ten to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis get diverticulitis. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis together are called diverticular disease.
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign on examination is tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen. Usually, the pain is severe and comes on suddenly, but it can also be mild and become worse over several days. The intensity of the pain can fluctuate. A person may experience cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or a change in bowel habits.
Diverticulitis can lead to bleeding; infections; small tears, called perforations; or blockages in the colon. These complications always require treatment to prevent them from progressing and causing serious illness.
A high-fiber diet and pain medications help relieve symptoms in most cases of diverticulosis. Uncomplicated diverticulitis with mild symptoms usually requires the person to rest, take oral antibiotics, and be on a liquid diet for a period of time. Sometimes an attack of diverticulitis is serious enough to require a hospital stay, intravenous (IV) antibiotics, and possibly surgery.
Depending on the severity of symptoms, the doctor may recommend bed rest, oral antibiotics, a pain reliever, and a liquid diet. If symptoms ease after a few days, the doctor will recommend gradually increasing the amount of high-fiber foods in the diet.
Severe cases of diverticulitis with acute pain and complications will likely require a hospital stay. Most cases of severe diverticulitis are treated with IV antibiotics and a few days without food or drink to help the colon rest. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
*Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches called diverticula bulge outward through weak spots in the colon, or large intestine.
*Most people with diverticulosis never have any discomfort or symptoms.
*Diverticula form when pressure builds inside the colon wall, usually because of constipation.
*The most likely cause of diverticulosis is a low-fiber diet because it increases constipation and pressure inside the colon.
*For most people with diverticulosis, eating a high-fiber diet is the only treatment needed.
*Fiber intake can be increased by eating whole-grain breads and cereals; fruits like apples and pears; vegetables like peas, spinach, and squash; and starchy vegetables like kidney and black beans.
*Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches become inflamed and cause pain and tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen.
*Diverticulitis can lead to bleeding; infections; small tears, called perforations; or blockages in the colon. These complications always require treatment to prevent them from progressing and causing serious illness.
*Severe cases of diverticulitis with acute pain and complications will likely require a hospital stay. When a person has complications or does not respond to medication, surgery may be necessary.
WHAT FOODS HAVE FIBER?
- Bread, Cereal, Beans
- Fruits (apple & pear w/ skin, raspberries, prunes)
- Vegetables (squash, sweet potato w/ skin, green peas, potato, spinach, cauliflower)