Diverticulitis is one of the major causes of abdominal pain. What is diverticulitis and are there any holistic treatments available?
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
Diverticulosis is a condition in which the lining of the colon bulges outward. Typically diagnosed by a colonoscopy, these bulges or pouches are commonly found in the lower part of the large intestine. People with diverticulosis generally are unaware of the condition. Diverticulosis is a silent disorder without pain.
However, if these pouches become infected with bacteria, the condition becomes diverticulitis. Diverticulitis leads to symptoms that include fever, cramping pains (usually in the lower left abdomen), nausea and changes in bowel habits. In more serious cases, rectal bleeding, abdominal abscesses and perforation may result. This is a medical emergency. Approximately 10% to 25% of patients with diverticulosis will develop diverticulitis.
A major factor in the development of diverticulosis and diverticulitis is a low fiber diet. Additionally the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been identified as another contributing factor. Multiple studies have shown a clear link between NSAID use and an increased use of diverticular hemorrhage. Smoking increases the risk of complications of diverticular disease, although does not cause it. Lack of activity/obesity also increases the risk of diverticular disease, and obesity increases the risks of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding significantly. Finally, chronic inflammation of the bowel tract from any cause greatly increases the risk of development.
Holistic Treatment of Diverticulitis
Many natural/holistic doctors believe the most useful steps to take to heal diverticulitis are:
- Lose weight.
- Drink more water.
- Exercise moderately but frequently.
- Avoid sugar and large heavy meals.
- increase water-soluble fiber intake (like glucomannan).
- Check for food allergies/hypersensitivities.
- Consider a comprehensive stool analysis to rule out parasitical, fungal, and/or bacterial overgrowth.
- Have a G.I. exam to rule out other concurrent bowel disorder and diseases.
- Treat constipation.
- See a doctor who will take a comprehensive holistic approach to treatment.