It’s not all that uncommon to develop small bulging pouches in your digestive system as you age. If these hernia-like pouches or diverticula become inflamed in the intestinal track, you have diverticulitis.

Moderate to severe cases may require intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization. Sometimes surgery to remove the portion of the diseased colon is needed, especially if this is the second time.

There are ways to reduce your risk of diverticulitis:

  • Eat high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Respond to bowel urges
  • Exercise regularly

Diverticula usually develop when naturally weak places in your colon give way under pressure. This causes marble-sized pouches to protrude through the colon wall.

 

Exactly how diverticula become inflamed or infected isn’t clear. One theory is that the increased pressure in the colon can weaken the wall of the diverticula, leading to infection. Another is that the narrow openings of diverticula may trap fecal matter, which can lead to infection. Or an obstruction in the narrow opening of a diverticulum may reduce blood supply to the area, which leads to inflammation.

RISK FACTORS

  • Aging. You’re more likely to get diverticulitis if you’re over 40.
  • Too little fiber. Diverticulitis is rare in countries where people eat a high-fiber diet that helps keep stools soft. But it’s common in industrialized nations, such as the United States, where the average diet is high in refined carbohydrates and low in fiber.
  • Obesity. Being seriously overweight increases your odds of developing diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.
  • Smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to experience diverticulitis.

And rarely, what appears to be diverticulitis may be colon cancer. Because of this, your doctor will likely recommend a colonoscopy after you’ve recovered from a bout of diverticulitis. [1]

Call Valley Healthcare today to talk with a doctor about the pain you may be having associated with diverticulitis.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

[1] mayoclinic.org


Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell has managed many specialty areas of healthcare including, kidney transplant, physical therapy and surgery. She combines her expertise in patient relations with her love of writing to bring awareness of health related issues. In her blog, Dreamlife Moments, she writes about mindfulness of time and recognizing more of the positive moments happening around us every day that creates a more positive life experience. Jennifer and her husband Byron are recent empty-nesters who enjoy traveling with their bichon Aissa, geocaching and volunteering wherever they go. Who is this chickie anyway? Connect with Jennifer on her Facebook Page, Blog and Twitter to find out more.

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