Diverticulitis - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis occurs when small, bulging sacs or pouches in the colon, known as diverticula, become inflamed or infected due to small pieces of undigested food or stool that gets stuck inside. Most often, these pouches are in the large intestine.

Symptoms of Diverticulitis

The most common symptom is abdominal pain and the most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. When infection is the cause, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping and constipation may also occur.

Causes of Diverticulitis

Although not proven, the main cause of diverticular disease is believed to be a low-fiber diet. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables,and grains that the body cannot digest.

Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, jelly-like texture in the intestines.

Insoluble fiber passes almost unchanged through the intestines.
Both kinds of fiber help make stools soft and easy to pass, which helps to prevent constipation.

Constipation is the main cause of increased pressure in the colon, making the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. The excess pressure caused by the straining makes the weak spots in the colon bulge out, forming diverticula.

Doctors do not know what causes the infection that causes diverticulitis, but believe it may begin when stool or bacteria are caught in the diverticula

Diverticulitis Diet

While it’s difficult to constantly monitor foods that might trigger unpleasant symptoms, it’s also crucial — especially for those with chronic conditions such as diverticulitis. There are recommended foods to avoid, as well as ones you should eat when your diverticulitis is acting up and when it’s dormant.

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