Diverticulosis, is a medical condition where one experiences a formation of small pouches within the lining of the colon, that is the large intestine and they occur around weak areas. The pouches individually are known as diverticulum, where many of the same are termed as diverticula. The lower half of one's large intestine is what is subjected to this condition, where symptoms do not arise at all in some patients. Those who do experience the effects of this suffer from an inflammation of these diverticula.
Diverticular disease, is an umbrella term for both diverticulosis and diverticulitis, which is when the pouches that form within the colon, rupture/bleed. The reason for this is diet that is low in fiber, since this food source is important to help one's stool pass smoothly and easily. The lack of it causes pressure within the colon, where the weak spots are then created, thus leading to the formation of pouches.
Symptoms of Diverticulosis
Most of those who suffer from diverticulosis have a very few symptoms or none at all. Asymptomatic diverticulosis is the term used for people who have no symptoms, whereas the term symptomatic diverticulosis is used for people who experience some symptoms. The latter is further categorized into three types - painful diverticulosis, inflammatory diverticulitis and bleeding diverticulosis.
The symptoms of painful diverticulosis are:
- Pain in the abdomen (that usually lessens after passing gas or bowel movement)
- Constipation that is later followed by rounds of diarrhea
- Pain in the abdomen
- An urge to pass stool
- Stool that is maroon in color with bright red clots
- Mild and sudden cramps
- Feeling faint, dehydrated and dizzy accompanied by loss of blood, through one's stool.
Foods to Avoid
Be on the lookout for these add-ons and food sources that may end up on your plate, if you aren't aware of their ill effects. When eaten raw, some items like tomatoes, squash and cucumbers can also cause problems. They are better consumed lightly cooked. A select group of foods that may aggravate the situation are:
- Strawberries (berries in general)
- Laxatives (you may opt for natural laxatives if need be or increase fluid intake)
- Food with hard particles (as they may get stuck in the diverticular sacs)
- Foods that have indigestible fiber (as they strain the digestive system)
- Food or liquids of extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold; should be avoided as they may cause gas)
- Alcohol (because it can irritate the bowel)
Food that are High in Fiber
A diverticulosis diet is one that is basically rich in fiber. The main purpose of this diet is to reduce the chances of developing diverticulosis. This diet also helps prevent the condition from further escalating into diverticulitis. Whole wheat, bran, whole grain cereal, fruits and legumes are the foods that possess high fiber content. These foods can be included in your diet by following a few simple steps:
- Twice a week include legumes in your meal. Peas, beans, lentils and soybeans constitute as legumes.
- Consume fruits with skin and their seeds.
- Include vegetables (especially cruciferous veggies) in your snacks and meals.
- Slowly increase the intake of fiber, by increasing portion size gradually.
- Replace food like rice, pasta and white bread with ones that are made out of whole wheat.
- Have fresh fruit juice and water in adequate quantities.
Fiber Content in Fibrous Foods
Here we give you the fiber content in different foods that can be incuded in a diverticulosis diet. As a fiber-rich diet is advisable for diverticulosis patients, a look at this list of fibrous foods can help.
- Whole-wheat bread
Each slice contains 1.9 grams
- White rice
Each cup contains 0.6 grams
- Bran flake cereal
Each ¾ cup contains 5.3 grams
- Fresh and cooked carrot
Each ½ a cup contains 2.3 grams
- Fresh and cooked cauliflower
Each ½ a cup contains 1.7 grams
- A raw tomato contains 1 gram
- Potato fresh and cooked
Each contains 2.3 grams
- Fresh and cooked broccoli
Each ½ cup contains 2.6 grams
- Raw peach
Each one contains 1.5 grams
- Raw tangerine
Each piece contains 1.9 grams
The article must have helped you know the symptoms of diverticulosis and understand the dietary changes to be made in case you have the condition. If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be wise to consult your physician for the right diagnosis and treatment.