What is Diverticulitis? Diverticulitis—a disease of the colon that causes lower abdominal pain—is becoming increasingly common in the United States in the over-50 population. As we age, become more sedentary, and eat Western-style diets devoid of fiber, many of us start to develop small, weak areas in the muscular wall … Read More
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis affect the colon?the lower part of the intestine. Both fall under the header of diverticular disease, which affects up to half of people between the ages of 60 and 80. Thanks to their similar sounding names, diverticulosis and diverticulitis are often confused. Diverticulosis is the formation of small pouches in the colon walls, which may be caused by straining during bowel movements due to constipation. Food can become trapped inside these pouches, leading to inflammation and infection, which is called diverticulitis. About 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis.
People with diverticulitis often feel pain in the lower abdomen. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, or a fever. Your doctor will do tests such as a blood test to identify an infection, and a stool sample to look for bleeding in your digestive tract. An x-ray or CT scan can help your doctor visualize the pouches. You?ll get a liquid called barium first, so the doctor can see your intestines. Sometimes a colonoscopy is necessary. The doctor will insert a thin tube into the rectum to look for pouches in the intestine.
Diverticulitis can be treated with simple dietary changes, such as adding more fiber to the diet to produce softer and easier-to-pass stools. Fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, wheat bran are all high-fiber foods. Experts recommend getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily in your diet. If you don?t get enough fiber from diet alone, you can take a fiber supplement like Metamucil.
People who have an infection will need to take antibiotics to clear up the bacteria. Those with bleeding pouches, persistent symptoms, or other diverticulitis complications may need surgery to clean the abdomen or remove damaged parts of the colon.
An impacted bowel is one of the more unpleasant digestive issues you can experience. Bowel obstruction symptoms occur when a mass of dry, hard stool will not pass out of the colon or rectum. Bowel impaction can become a serious issue if not treated, and in extreme cases may even … Read More
Intestinal infections tend to hit at the worst times. Five years ago, my husband, two children and I were cruising from one Croatian Island to the next when it happened—gut-wrenching cramps doubled me over while sweat dripped down every crevice. I had gone from feeling slightly nauseous to wanting to … Read More
Bloating, flatulence, cramps, diarrhea, and fullness? You may have SIBO, an overgrowth of bacteria in your upper intestines. If so, some counterintuitive changes in your diet can help. Let’s explore the SIBO diet. The health-conscious among us will be aware of this simple fact: The health of your body depends … Read More
Once you’ve reached your senior years, there’s a better-than-average chance you have diverticulosis, the development of small pockets, or diverticula, in the muscular layers of the colon (large intestine). Sounds serious, right? Not always. In fact, most of the time these pockets are harmless. But, about four out of 100 … Read More
Almonds are one of my favorite snacks, but they’ve gotten a bad rap as a high-fat food over the years. The truth is that you can forget their high fat and calorie content, the data on nuts are now indisputable. If you’re still asking, “Are nuts good for you?” you … Read More
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The diverticulitis definition may not be well known, but a majority of older adults suffer from this condition of the colon. The diverticulitis definition is best explained by describing how diverticulitis starts—and what it starts as. According to The Diverticulitis Foundation of America, half of Americans older than age 60 … Read More
If you've been feeling bone pain, your doctor may take one look at that stiff, swollen joint or that loss of motion and suspect that what you’ve got is the inevitable onset of age-related osteoarthritis (OA) or the autoimmune disorder that leads to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But to refine that … Read More