Thursday, June 7, 2012

Diet for Person with Diverticulitis

Diet for Person with Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis, an ailment of the large intestine (colon), is caused due to lack of fiber-rich food in the diet. Here is some information about the diets for a person with diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis is a common disease in the digestive system, which is developed from a condition called diverticulosis. Diverticulosis involves the formation of small, bulging pouches, known as diverticula (singular diverticulum) in the mucous lining of the digestive tract. Diverticulum can be formed anywhere in the digestive system; however, it mostly occurs in the large intestine, especially in the sigmoid colon. Diverticulitis is caused due to infection and/or inflammation of the diverticula. The term diverticular disease is collectively used for diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

The symptoms of diverticulosis are rare and may include lower abdominal discomfort, constipation and bloating. In case of diverticulitis, the symptoms are abdominal pain, tenderness in the lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, change in the bowel habit and at times, fever and chills. Though the exact cause of diverticular disease is not known, medical researchers are of the opinion that consumption of diets with low-fiber content is the main cause for the condition. Let's take a look at the diets for a person with diverticulitis.

Diet for Person with Diverticulitis

Treatment of diverticulitis is necessary, as it may lead to other medical complications such as rectal bleeding, infections, abscess formation, perforations, peritonitis and blockage in the intestine. Treatment of diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition; mild cases can be treated by altering the diet plan, proper rest and over-the-counter antibiotics. If a person is diagnosed with severe diverticulitis, the doctor may conduct surgical treatment methods.

A person having a mild diverticulitis attack (severe abdominal pain) should opt for a clear liquid diet and a low-fiber diet. Clear liquid diet includes ample amount of water and fruit juices (without pulp), popsicles (without fruit pulp), broth, tea and coffee. Foods containing low-fiber are white bread, noodles, rice, cereals that contain low-fiber, fruits without seed and skin, eggs, tender meat and fish, butter and milk. He/she should not consume foods that contain seeds and desserts, as it may increase the chances of infection. Opting for such foods allow the colon to rest and heal quickly.

Once the person recovers from diverticulitis pain, he/she can switch on to the regular diet along with an increased amount of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dose of fiber intake for an adult is 25-30 gm. In the beginning, one can start with 5-15 gm fiber in the balanced diet and increase the amount gradually.

In order to prevent diverticulitis, the doctor may also recommend a change in lifestyle and/or dietary management. Since constipation increases the pressure in the wall of colon and contributes to formation of diverticula, maintaining a good bowel hygiene helps in preventing diverticulitis. For regular bowel movement, a person with diverticulitis should include plenty of fiber-rich foods and juices in the diet plan.

Foods that are a rich source of fiber include fresh fruits with skin, vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach) and whole grains. It is to be noted that along with the fiber intake, keeping hydrated is essential, as fiber along with water keeps the stool soft and easy to pass. Otherwise, only fiber may increase constipation. Another effective way to prevent diverticulitis is to exercise regularly, which helps in maintaining the normal bowel movement.

As per statistics, the chances of forming diverticula is high in the case of people who are older than 40 years. About half of the US citizens who are above 60 years have diverticulosis. According to a survey conducted, it is found that about 10-25 percent of the diverticulosis patients developed diverticulitis.


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