which diet to choose? –

The digestive system is essential to the body. It basically ensures the nutrient bioavailability through churning and food absorption. However, it happens that the organs of the digestive system, in this case the colon, are infected by certain pathologies such as diverticulosis. What should I know about this anomaly? What are its causes ? How to treat it? Decryption in this article.

What is diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is an anatomical abnormality characterized by the presence of diverticula on the colon, mainly in its part connected to the rectum. It is from this characteristic that comes the qualification of colonic diverticulosis. Diverticula are small sac-like growths that appear on the outer wall of the large intestine.

It is also possible to find them in other digestive organs such as the stomach and the small intestine. Generally benign, colonic diverticulosis can evolve and lead to complications such as:

  • Diverticulitis: it results in inflammation or infection of the diverticula;
  • Stenosis: this is the abnormal narrowing of the colon;
  • Peritonitis: it is the inflammation of the peritoneum. Peritonitis is characterized by the perforation of a colonic part, risking to make penetrate the contents of the colon in the abdomen cavity.

This anatomical anomaly is most often observed in subjects over 60 years of age, because the risk of appearance is higher after this age. It should also be noted that this anomaly is very common in developed countries, because it is characterized by a refined food industry.

What causes diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis occurs after excessive pressure on one of the fragile parts of the colon. This is due to frequent constipation. Indeed, the muscular colic thickens in an irregular manner in order to advance the stool. The more the subject suffers from constipation, the more frequent the pressure will become. Eventually, the hyperpressure causes the colonic mucosa in the walls where blood vessels enter the intestine. This action leads to the formation of diverticula.

Constipation is the major cause of the appearance of this anomaly in the digestive tract. It is favored by a poor quality diet, more precisely low in fiber. In addition, there are other factors favoring the development of diverticula in the colon such as aging, sedentary lifestyle and poor lifestyle.

How does this condition manifest?

Diverticulosis is often asymptomatic. In reality, it is much more than a anatomical abnormality than a real disease. But, in certain cases, its manifestations resemble those of the irritable bowel syndrome. It is therefore not uncommon to experience nausea, episodes of diarrhea and headaches.

Symptoms become more prominent when diverticulosis progresses to diverticulum. The most common are:

  • The abdominal tenderness ;
  • Intense pain in the right side of the abdomen in case of diverticula right colon;
  • Fever ;
  • The constipation

Diverticulitis can also manifest in different ways. These are less common symptoms, which appear in people with rare or advanced-stage diverticulitis. It includes vomiting, bloating, pain or difficulty urinating.

How is the diagnosis made?

The presence of colonic diverticulosis is particularly difficult to diagnose because it is an asymptomatic disorder. Additionally, the non-specific symptoms largely relate to those of functional colopathy (irritable bowel). However, it becomes easier to diagnose this disorder when it progresses to diverticulitis due to the onset of symptoms. In addition, the diagnosis of colonic diverticulosis is made either by blood tests or by a colonoscopy.

blood tests

Blood tests help determine the level of inflammation of the diverticula. At this level, the doctor uses radiography, a very useful method for observing the structure of the colon. The doctor proceeds to the application of a product containing barium which takes on a bright white color on x-rays. This provides an inverted color image of the shape of the colon. Other tests may then be done to confirm the diagnosis of colonic diverticulosis.


Colonoscopy is an examination consisting of the insertion of a flexible tube through the anus to observe the colon. This instrument, called a colonoscope, is equipped with macroscopic optical fibers allowing images of the organs to be seen on the screens.

This examination usually requires the application of a sedative treatment. But, the formation of diverticula being mainly on the sigmoid part of the colon, the doctor can resort to a less invasive process: sigmoidoscopy.

What about preparatory exams?

The diagnosis of diverticulosis supposes the respect of a certain number of provisions, especially with regard to the colon visualization tests. Indeed, the colon becomes sensitive when diverticulosis reaches an advanced stage. We can therefore evoke the risk of perforation of the intestine with the colonoscope.

So, before each test, it is necessary to prepare the intestines. This is why doctors limit colon imaging tests by first exploring the pathologies that could be responsible for the appearance of symptoms.

Treatment of diverticulosis: what are the dietary recommendations?

Once appeared, a diverticulum cannot go away on its own. The best natural way to get rid of it or reduce its symptoms is to adopt a high fiber diet. A fiber deficiency effectively handicaps intestinal transit. To balance the intestinal flora and reduce the pressure therein, it is important to consume dietary fiber regularly. The foods that contain the most are spinach, red fruits and legumes. It is also found in prunes, bread and oilseeds.

It should be stressed that the adoption of such a regime must be done gradually. A sudden and excessive intake could cause side effects such as bloating and flatulence. Caution is therefore advised in choosing a diverticulitis diet. In the absence of specific knowledge in the matter, the ideal is to consult a nutritionist.

What are the other treatments for diverticulosis?

Besides diet, there are also other therapeutic methods to eliminate or combat the development of diverticula. These include hydration, lifestyle, medication, and surgery.

Stay hydrated

Hydration has risen to the top positions in the ranking of anti-diverticulitis treatments. Fibers need a good amount of water to perform their functions. In addition, consuming fiber without properly hydrating could increase the frequency of symptoms. It is therefore recommended to drink 1 to 2 liters of water per day, and more when the subject practices physical activities.

Likewise, it is important to stay well hydrated, especially after consuming fiber-rich foods. However, it is advisable to be careful not to substitute water for other liquids such as coffee and fruit juices. To hope for an effective and rapid treatment, the daily dose of water must be respected. Drinking enough water also lightens the weight of the fecal mass.

Improve your lifestyle

Lifestyle plays a major role in the treatment for diverticulosis, whether it is at an advanced stage or not. The development of diverticula can be prevented by the practice of intense or moderate physical activity. It can be running, swimming or even just walking. In short, the way of life to avoid is the sedentary lifestylebecause it has a negative impact on digestion.

Moreover, adopting a good lifestyle is not limited to physical activities. Chewing should also be monitored. When the latter is done properly, the body takes less time to digest, reduces the risk of constipation, and by extension, the development of diverticula.

Food should be chewed properly and turned into mush before swallowing. In addition, we must abandon the reflex to go to the bathroom directly after eating since this prematurely causes intestinal contractions.

taking probiotics

Symptomatic recurrence of diverticulosis can be treated by taking probiotics. The substances they contain have a restorative effect on the intestinal flora. At the same time, probiotics participate in the regulation of intestinal pressure. They are available in the form of drugs and are also found in foods fortified with the substance such as cheese and milk.

In addition, inflammations linked to diverticular disorders can only be treated by taking anti-inflammatory drugs. It is therefore wise to combine anti-inflammatories with probiotics in the treatment of diverticulosis.

Surgery: the last resort

Diverticulosis can respond to a variety of treatments. But, surgery becomes necessary when the episodes become too frequent. There sigmoidectomy is the most common intervention. It consists of the removal of the affected colonic membrane followed by the junction of the colon with the rectum. Sigmoidectomy is performed on average 5 weeks after an acute episode.

There are other surgical procedures that are performed when sigmoidectomy is hampered by certain operative complications. In any case, the patient is not constrained to a postoperative lifestyle. On the other hand, it is important for him to adopt good behavior in order to prevent recurrences.

How to prevent the onset of diverticulosis?

There is no prophylactic cure for diverticulosis. The only way to prevent it is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended to consume daily dietary fiber according to his individual tolerance and exclude refined products from his diet. The latter are devoid of fibers, and can create hypertension in the colon.

In addition, an adequate amount of vitamin D in the blood helps reduce the risk of diverticula formation. In addition to fibre, it is important to consume foods rich in vitamin D. They are effective in protecting the body from certain inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Finally, it is necessary to drink plenty of water in order to facilitate the function of fibers in the body.

#diet #choose
2023-05-18 20:37:44

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