‘ A clever person solves a problem, a wise one avoids one’
We have selected a UK article which summarises Diverticulitis very well. Written by a Doctor it explores the reasons behind the increase in Diverticulitis along with the ways in which the condition can be treated and more importantly prevented.
While we have selected a UK article the the information contained within is relevant to any Westernised country, and we feel that it puts the condition into some kind of context for sufferers.
Last week a patient came to see me looking very unwell. Having just come out of hospital after her first attack of diverticulitis, she was understandably anxious to learn how to ward off further attacks.
It seems that diverticulitis is a very common problem, statistics indicating that at least 50 per cent of the population over the age of sixty has it, although only a quarter of these people are unlucky enough to suffer the symptoms, the rest being unaware of their condition.
These symptoms typically include bloating, pain in your bowel (usually in the lower left-hand quadrant above your groin) and constipation or diarrhoea (often alternating between the two).
And if the diverticula - clusters of little pockets or sacs inside the bowel, also called 'bunches of grapes', which they resemble ¿ that give diverticulitis its name become infected, you can develop a fever, pass blood and generally feel incredibly unwell.
Diverticulitis, which is thought to occur when a weakness in the bowel wall causes it to stretch and consequently form diverticula, is frequently the result of a low-fibre diet, which forces the bowel to strain to pass undigested food, constipation thereby worsening any existing weakness and prompting diverticula to develop.
It's particularly prevalent in countries whose population¿s intake of soluble fibre (found in cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables) is low.
And the reason why diverticulitis is becoming more common in the United Kingdom is that we as a nation are tending to ignore the messages being broadcast by nutritionists and are eating less and less fibre and more and more low-fibre, high-fat and sugar-laden foods, causing us to become more constipated (with the exception, I hope, of my readers!)
As I told my patient, although we don't know if the existing ones will ever disappear, the best way of preventing further diverticula from developing is to fend off constipation by drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day and consuming lots of fibre in the form of whole-grain bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables and other foods that are rich in soluble fibre, including oats, lentils and beans.
Don't, however, be tempted to buy bran-packed products or to sprinkle bran over your cereal because pure bran can be so difficult for a compromised gut to deal with that it may cause major problems.
Instead, stick to whole-grain cereals like muesli or whole-wheat flakes and sultanas.
I also explained to my patient that eating too much raw fibre immediately after her diverticula had become infected would wreak painful havoc on her gut. When you're recuperating from an attack of diverticulitis, your best bet is to have cooked vegetables in preference to raw ones or salads and to steer clear of wind-promoting vegetables like cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and artichokes, along with an overload of onions or prunes.
You'll also find white rice easier on your gut than whole grain, and although you may be able to tolerate a little wholemeal bread, don¿t buy freshly baked loaves because these can also cause painful wind.
All in all, play it safe with fibre-containing foods until your gut feels less raw and sensitive.
If you're worried that a meal may result in wind and discomfort, try having a post-prandial cup of digestion-aiding mint, ginger or fennel tea. You may also find that regularly having live yoghurt containing acidophilus, bifidus or lactobacillus alleviates your symptoms.
This is because these 'good' bacteria prevent their 'bad' counterparts from infesting your gut, which frequently happens after you've been on antibiotics.
I'd also advocate avoiding fatty, rich foods, because these may send you rushing to the loo ¿ the last thing you need.
Instead, keep your meals simple and light until you're feeling better, and only then start eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses and other high-fibre foods, and remember to team them with plenty of water to put less strain on your bowel.
Leaving the realm of nutrition, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend gently massaging sesame oil into the skin over your stomach and bowel in the morning and evening, while exercising regularly is also advisable because staying active will keep you moving in more than one sense.
Vegetable and lentil soup
150g green lentils uncooked,
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 large organic carrots, peeled and finely chopped
Small bulb of fennel, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 litres/2½ pints vegetable or chicken stock
12 ripe plum tomatoes
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Gently sauté the onions, garlic, celery, fennel and carrots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and golden brown in colour.
Add the lentils, stock and tomatoes. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are cooked, but not mushy.
Stir in the freshly chopped parsley.
Season to taste and sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-156886/Diverticulitis.html#ixzz2dvVoFu8p
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