Diverticulitis is a common disease of the bowel most commonly found in the large intestine (the colon).
Gastroenterologists believe that with increased straining/pressure areas of the colon wall become weak. When the muscle weakens and gives way, small pouches are formed called diverticula – this is called diverticulosis. Once diverticula form, they are in most cases permanent but usually causes no problems or pain and many people do not know they have them.
Diverticulitis develops when bacteria (commonly faeces) lodges itself in the diverticula and causes infections. When one of these pouches become inflamed or infected this is diverticulitis.
The disease is caused by a combination of genetics and diet and is more common in people aged 40 and over.
Symptoms vary depending on the size and level of infection and may last from a few hours up to a few days. Possible symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Constipation & diarrhoea
- High temperature
- Pain occurs in the lower left side varying in severity
- Nausea & vomiting
- Bleeding from the rectum (rare)
Non-invasive treatments such as changes to diet are recommended and over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol can be taken to relieve any lower abdominal pain.
In extreme cases antibiotics are prescribed to try and clear the infection.
Diverticulitis High Fibre Diet
An increase in fibre will encourage regular visits to the toilet and prevent constipation and straining on the wall muscles. Fibre rich foods include:
- Whole grains (brown bread, rice etc.)
- Fresh and dried fruit
It is important to increase your intake of fibre slowly, as a rapid increase in these fibre rich foods will lead to symptoms such as bloating and wind. To prevent this drink plenty of water!
Diverticulitis can lead to more complications in the colon such as abscesses so it is important to get the above listed symptoms checked out by a professional.
Our Private Gastroenterologists at Pall Mall Medical will be able to confirm diagnosis of the disease and recommend any further tests or any treatments necessary. Book an appointment today with no waiting lists, starting from £225.