Diverticulitis is a disease where by the Diverticula become inflamed. The ‘itis’ on the end of a word indicates inflammation.
In the diverticulitis disease, instead of being quite smooth and sausage shaped, the bowel starts to have little pockets along it. Waste can get trapped in these pockets. This can cause perforation of the bowel and dysbiosis (imbalance of gut microflora).
Diverticulitis is found in the large intestine. It happens when the walls of the colon lose elasticity. This is often something that accompanies the ageing process as we know by the wrinkles and saggy bits visible on our skin.
The bowel is working all the time, waste is pushed through via peristalsis and this along with adequate dietary fibre, water intake and some exercise helps to keep us regular and clear out toxins. Diverticulitis is much more common in those with as history of constipation and poor fibre intake and low activity levels – so you can see its much more likely to happen as we generally slow down and age.
Symptoms can include general bloating, constipation and sluggish energy levels to fever, vomiting and rectal blood loss. Early stages are easily mistaken for IBS. If you suffer from any of these symptoms I would suggest you see your GP and rule out anything more sinister especially if you have a family history of bowel cancer. Then book an appointment to see a BANT registered Nutritional Therapist for help with diet and lifestyle changes.
It’s important to look at the root symptoms. You would want to aiming to reduce inflammation, restore regular bowel movements, heal the gut lining and restore the healthy bacteria within the gut. You can see this sort of condition hasn’t happened over night so it will take some months for healing to take place, but symptoms should reduce during that time.
Dietary ideas are below. They include an increase in fibre to bulk out stool. This is our ‘good’ bacteria’s favourite food source. Some of these foods are anti-inflammatory and others will help to get rid of unwanted microbes, whilst the others help to repair the gut lining.
Remember ideally we are aiming for 8-10 portions of fruit and veg per day. And one and a half to two litres of water per day (tea and coffee doesn’t count)
Supplements that I may suggest would include:
- Slippery elm
- Psyllium husk
- Aloe vera,
- Fish oil
- Herbal teas – Ginger, peppermint, turmeric, chamomile