Getting to the bottom of diverticulitus

Diverticulitis occurs when the mucous membranes lining the colon become weakened and form small pouches known as diverticula.

It is the inflammation of these diverticula that leads to diverticulitis. Inflammation occurs when these pouches become filled with ‘matter’. Unless they become infected these pouches are generally not bothersome, in which case inflammation of the bowel occurs resulting in abdominal pain which can be quite severe on the left hand side of the abdomen in the descending colon.

As well as pain there may be bleeding, diarrhoea (which may alternate with constipation ), anaemia, and possibly even fever. As there are many bowel complaints which have similar symptoms, it is important to have a proper diagnosis. This illness usually presents in middle age and is most often preceded by many years of constipation resulting in the weakening of tissues of the intestinal wall.

In general, diseases related to the digestive tract are caused by eating too many white flour products like bread and pasta, eating heavy meals rich in saturated fats, sugary and processed foods, and insufficient fibre and fresh vegetables. This kind of diet is taxing on the digestive system at the best of times, and eating these foods over a long period of time cannot continue without causing health problems.

A diet high in fibre increases the frequency and quantity of bowel movements while decreasing the time it takes food to travel through the digestive tract, thereby making it less likely that the body will absorb toxins from the stool. Good sources of fibre include psyllium husks, linseed, oats, and brown rice. Psyllium husks have the added benefit of absorbing toxins from the body for elimination.

Although wheat is a source of fibre, it is a hard fibre and contains strong gluten and ‘phytates’ which are known irritants to the gut wall. While eating wheat is unlikely to cause diverticulitis, it upsets an already troubled digestive system and is best avoided.

Probiotics such as Udo’s Super 8 will help keep bad bacteria from proliferating in the gut while a good quality multivitamin containing high levels of B vitamins such as Nature’s Plus Ultra 2 will help feed the nervous system and increase energy levels.

For further information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Irishtown, Athlone, on (090 ) 6487993.


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