Recognizing and diagnosing Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis or diverticulitis is the development of many tiny sacs in the bowel lining. These pockets, known as diverticulas, can be as small as a pea to considerably larger.  Sometimes these diverticula may bleed or perforate thus becoming complicated diverticular disease.  It's important to recognize the symptoms and see a doctor for a professional diagnosis, it usually means you also have irritable bowel syndrome.  IBS is a coexisting painful condition that occurs very often with diverticulosis.

Diverticulosis is the presence of small sacs or outpouchings (diverticula) of the inner lining of the intestine that protrude through the intestinal wall. These sacs form in weakened areas of the bowel.

What are some of the Symtoms I will Experience? 

Many people feel abdominal pain in the lower left-hand side of their stomachs. Some people may feel pain on the right side of their lower stomach. This pain can either be continual or last for several days.

The doctor says to, "Eliminate fast foods and increase dietary fiber".  Easy enough, right!

Other symptoms may include chills, painful cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness. You may also have diarrhea and constipation that alternate, besides painful abdominal cramping.

Diagnosing Diverticulosis

Promptly call your doctor if you have diverticulitis symptoms.

  • At your appointment, you’ll be asked your symptoms, diet, bowel habits and any medications you take.
  • Besides undergoing a colonoscopy, expect to have at least some other diagnostic exams done, such as CT scanning, x-rays, sigmoidoscopy and ultrasound testing.
  • Your doctor will also test your blood to see if there are indications of infections, besides determining how much bleeding is involved.
  • Patients who have heavy rectal bleeding may need an angiography, which is done to pinpoint the bleeding source.

Considerations and Warnings

  • You don’t need specialized treatment if you don’t have symptoms or side effects. However, you need to eat food  rich in fiber so that diverticula don’t form, again, later
  • Straining while having a bowel movement can cause diverticula to form.
  • Roughly 20 percent of diverticulosis patients develop complications, such as rectal (diverticular) bleeding.
  • Avoid taking laxatives and using enemas. Use colon hydrotherapy as your resource.

Diverticulitis is the result of at least one of the diverticulas becoming infected and inflamed. This often occurs because outpouchings get blocked with waste, leading to bacteria accumulating. That’s why it’s important to have your colon cleaned.  One of the many services of The Boulder Center for Vibrant Health is colon cleansing. Please contact us if you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis.

What should I eat if I have Diverticulosis/itis?

Doctors use to recommend to their patients with this disease to not eat nuts, popcorn & seeds. However, these are some of the most high fiber foods you can eat and recent research has noted that there is no real scientific evidence proving that these foods will get stuck in the diverticula and lead to inflammation.  They help significantly with easier bowel movements.  One thing you need to remember is that your movements need to be easy.  There should not be any straining.  Fiber softens and adds bulk to stools, helping them pass more easily through the colon. It also reduces pressure in the digestive tract.

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