Although less known to the outside world, Diverticulitis is a medical condition that is related to the colon. The condition is characterized by the formation of small sac like pouches or protrusions in the inner lining of the colon.
Also called as Diverticula, these pouches usually occur when weak spots present in the outer layer of the large intestine place excess pressure on the inner lining.
Diverticulitis (also called Diverticulosis in certain instances) usually goes unnoticed until the symptoms start worsening. The initial symptoms of the condition remain insignificant though and cannot possibly indicate that a person is suffering from Diverticulitis until the pouches show up in a colonoscopy. Nevertheless, some of the telltale symptoms of the condition include severe abdominal cramping and pain (mostly restricted to the lower left region of the body), abdominal gas, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, blood in stools, nausea, exhaustion and even fever etc.
Simple & Best Home Remedies For Diverticulitis
Even though the risks of developing Diverticulitis increases with age, there are certain home remedies that can help prevent its occurrence and effectively treat the symptoms of an ongoing condition. Given below are some of the more common home remedies for Diverticulitis.
Soothe the Pain
The abdominal pain and discomfort arising from Diverticulitis can be reduced to an extent by placing a heating pad or hot compress over the abdomen.
Alternatively, relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation can help alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by Diverticulitis.
Include More Fiber in Your Diet
Hard waste material can increase the pressure on the digestive tract and the colon. Eating plenty of fiber rich foods can help prevent this. Excess fiber in the body can help improve digestion and loosen up the waste materials so that they can easily pass through the large intestine, thus clearing up blockages and easing the pressure on the colon. So make it a point to eat plenty of fiber rich foods every day.
Accordingly, you can gradually increase your fiber intake to about 20 grams every day (a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause bloating, gas or stomach distention). Opt for whole grain products, vegetables and fruits that contain plenty of fiber and would ease up the digestion process. Excellent examples include spinach, apples, kidney beans and brown rice etc.
Opt for Fiber Supplements
You can also opt for supplements like Citrucel (Methylcellulose) and Metamucil (Psyllium) which contain high amounts of fiber. Check with a doctor about the standard dosage for these supplements and take these them regularly to increase the fiber content in your body.
Add These Foods To Your Diet
In addition to increasing your intake of fiber, try adding these foods to your diet, each of which contains its own benefits aimed at treating Diverticulitis and preventing recurrences.
Known for its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, garlic is considered as a miracle cure for almost all kinds of health related ailments, including Diverticulitis.
A few cloves of raw garlic every day can help soothe the digestive tract and flush out harmful impurities that could cause blockages in the digestive tract and lead to the formation of Diverticula.
Pears can effectively soothe the digestive tract and reduce the inflammation owing to Diverticulitis. Opt for a few raw pears or a few glasses of fresh pear juice everyday for extended relief from the condition.
Baked, boiled or broiled potatoes (avoid fried at all costs) can help reduce the inflammation caused by Diverticulitis to a great extent. Potatoes contain potent anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the colon and ease the process of digestion.
Papaya contains a substance called papain, a natural digestive aid which can help improve the digestion process by cleansing the digestive tract of blockages and other harmful substances that could contribute to Diverticulitis.
Opt for a fresh papaya which you can either eat raw or drink as juice.
Switch To A Liquid Diet
It is considered wise to switch to a liquid diet in cases of acute Diverticulitis. A liquid diet would help the digestive tract heal from the condition while improving the passage of waste material through the colon. Opt for a clear liquid diet that contains water, broth, ice pops, gelatin and carbonated beverages.
Continue the liquid diet plan until the symptoms start to recede. However, don’t switch to a solid diet almost immediately afterwards. Rather, start introducing solids slowly into your existing liquid diet. Start by including foods low in fiber like boiled vegetables, eggs and yogurt. The additional fiber content would make sure your digestive system is able to properly digest the solids you introduce in your diet. With time, you can increase the fiber intake to promote quick healing and prevent recurrences.
Change Your Eating Habits
If you are suffering from Diverticulitis, it pays to change your eating habits until the condition is completely cured. In addition to switching to foods and liquids that are easy on the colon, you need to substitute your regular meals with smaller and more frequent meals. Accordingly, instead of eating 3 whole meals a day, you would need to eat at least 6 smaller meals at regular intervals throughout the day.
In addition to keeping you full, this would enable your healing digestive tract to digest the food properly (too much food at the same time can pressurize your colon). And this in turn would help offer relief from the pain, inflammation and discomfort experienced due to Diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis can cause diarrhea or constipation in individuals. In both these cases, it would be considered wise to drink plenty of fluids in order to remain hydrated. Excess water helps flush out harmful substances from the digestive tract and colon. In addition to this, it also works along with the fiber to soften the waste material in the colon and improve the passage of the same through the large intestine.
In certain cases, excess fiber can dehydrate the body as well and cause constipation which in turn can cause Diverticulitis. Drinking excess fluids would replenish the water that is absorbed by fiber in the body, thereby preventing dehydration and constipation.
Don’t Control Bowel Movements
Don’t try to control your urge to use the toilet. Trying to control or delay a bowel movement can lead to the buildup of waste material inside the colon and increase the pressure placed on the same, thus causing Diverticulitis. Delayed stools would also become hard and rigid, thus requiring extra force to pass through the colon. In certain cases, they can even harden to form blockages inside the colon which in turn can increase the pressure inside the large intestine and cause diverticulitis. So make it a point to use the toilet as when you need to use it.
Avoid Using Laxatives
If you are prone to using laxatives to regularize your bowel movements, it is high time you stopped using them. Extended use of laxatives can cause side effects like flatulence, abdominal gas, bloating and abdominal cramps which can increase the pressure inside the colon, thus leading to Diverticulitis. So try opting for natural laxatives to soften your stools instead of using supplements to regularize your bowel movements.
Opt For Regular Exercises
Exercising regularly can keep you fit internally and externally. Regular exercises (at least 30 minutes every day) can loosen up waste materials that might have clogged up inside the digestive tract.
Exercising can also regularize bowel movement and reduce the pressure inside the digestive tract, thereby easing the symptoms of Diverticulitis to a great extent.
Take Adequate Rest
Sometimes it is considered best to forget everything and just rest out the condition. Restricting your activities to a minimum and staying in bed for the most part can help prevent the symptoms from worsening and promote quick healing. So try to stay in bed for at least a couple of days and increase your activity levels slowly as you recover from the condition.