Doctors usually recommend antibiotics and a soft-fiber diet for diverticulitis. Read on to know why antibiotics are required to treat diverticulitis, and whether natural antibiotics can lower the symptoms of diverticulitis.
The large intestine or the colon comprises the end part of the digestive tract. The colon promotes excretion of waste material. Aging leads to excessive pressure on the wall of the colon during the process of excretion. This results in the formation of small sacs in the wall of the colon. These sacs are nothing but the protruding pockets of the wall tissue. Pressure on the colon wall pushes these sacs outward. These bulging sacs are known as diverticula. A diverticulum can be as small as a pea, but can grow significantly larger in size too. Occurrence of small pouches on the colon wall is termed as diverticulosis, while inflammation and infection in one or more diverticula is referred to as diverticulitis.
Treatment of Diverticulitis
Diverticula can be present on any part of the colon, but they are more common on the sigmoid colon (the part which is attached to the rectum), because it is the part which has to bear maximum pressure and contract strongly to throw away waste material. Once diverticula are formed, waste material gets trapped in those bulging sacs. Impacted waste material leads to development of bacteria which causes infection in diverticula. If the infection is not controlled promptly, it can lead to a rupture of the diverticulum and bleeding in the intestinal wall. Internal bleeding is always considered a serious condition as it can result in various health complications. Antibiotics help curb the growth of bacteria and hence are used to treat diverticulitis. Abdominal pain is one of the main diverticulitis symptoms, and antibiotics help eliminate the cause of the pain.
Dosage of Antibiotics
When doctors prescribe antibiotics, you are expected to follow the instructions of the doctor sincerely. Even if you feel better after taking one or two doses of the drug, you are supposed to finish the prescribed doses. Duration of the treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms. You should take the antibiotics for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. If you stop taking them abruptly, there are chances that a few bacteria are left intact in your body. The leftover bacteria may grow again and you may have to take antibiotics all over again later. Excessive consumption of antibiotics also may result in certain other health complications. Moreover, bacteria may become immune to the drugs after repeated use, and you may have to take stronger and different antibiotics thereafter. Such bacteria can prove to be harmful, not only for you, but for the society too.
Best Antibiotics for Diverticulitis
Patients with diverticulitis often suffer from muscular spasms and pain in the area of the diverticula. Anti-spasmodic drugs like hyoscyamine (Levsin), dicyclomine (Bentyl) and chlordiazepoxide (Librax) work great for abdominal spasms. A soft-food diet and high-fiber diet helps prevent constipation and worsening of the symptoms. But during an attack of acute diverticulitis, a liquid or low-fiber diet (low-roughage diet) is recommended, as it leads to a low residue (waste material). When the symptoms are mild, oral antibiotics like cephalexin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, amoxicillin-clavulanate, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim and metronidazole are recommended. These are the best antibiotics for mild symptoms, and may be prescribed in various combinations. For severe symptoms and health complications, ampicillin-sulbactam, cephalosporin, cefotetan with gentamicin, and metronidazole with ceftriaxone may be prescribed. These antibiotics help clear up the infection.
Diverticulosis is often asymptomatic. Diverticulitis is the next stage of diverticulosis. If diverticulitis is detected at an early stage (which is very difficult), then a proper diet and natural antibiotics help prevent worsening of the symptoms. Natural antibiotics (natural substances which carry anti-bacterial properties) like garlic, vitamin C, etc., may not work for diverticulitis, when the disease is detected at an advanced stage.
You can prevent the development of diverticula by taking care of your health right from the beginning. You should avoid junk foods and highly processed foods. You should consume whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, along with fish and meat, as they facilitate the process of excretion. You should always drink plenty of water and other healthy liquids like milk, milkshakes, soups and fruit juices, along with solid food. Regular exercise also helps tone the muscles and promotes the release of hormones and digestive enzymes. Exercises thus help enhance the functions of the bodily systems, including the digestive system. A balanced diet and regular exercises can help you lead a long healthy life.