Treatment Of Diverticulitis And Diverticulosis
Treatment for diverticulitis focuses on eliminating inflammation and infection to rest the digestive system and prevent complications. A low proportion of patients with diverticulitis, develop complications and may require surgery.
Diverticulitis is successfully treated generally in seven to ten days through the following measures:
- Antispasmodics: they help control the pain and cramps
- Antibiotics: they are used to treat bacterial infection
- Liquid diet: composed of clear liquids (tea, broths, soups) and food of easy digestion and absorption such as pureed fruits and vegetables
- Fluid replacement
If the patient has severe pain or bleeding, hospitalization may be necessary to study and to evaluate the possibility of surgery if there is any complication.
When Is Surgery Necessary?
Surgery is an indication in patients with diverticulitis who do not respond to antibiotic therapy or who have complications such as fistula, perforation, intestinal obstruction. The surgeon performs a surgery that removes the affected area and connects the healthy parts of the colon. This surgery is called colon resection. In some cases, surgery may be an emergency.
The reasons for emergency surgery in patients with diverticulitis include:
- Large abscess
- Continuous bleeding
Surgery involves two operations. One is done to remove the infected colon placing a “stoma” (colostomy). The colostomy bag allows the patient to move the bowel and to eliminate stool. The bag is placed on a temporary basis as it is not safe to join the two parts of the colon during the first operation. In the second surgery, the doctor connects the healthy parts of the colon and removes the colostomy bag. During postoperative period, intolerance and malabsorption of nutrients with diarrhea may occur. Therefore, it is important that the nutritionist provide for an adequate diet.
Treatment Of Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is treated through a high-fiber diet (25-30 grams per day) and medication to relieve symptoms. If an acute attack of diverticulitis occurs, you may require hospitalization and surgery if there is any complication.
The rise in the amount of fiber and water in the diet increases the intestinal transit time improving constipation and decreasing the risk of diverticulosis. This results in a reduction in pressure inside the colon with the passage of stool more easily. Water intake is important to keep intestines and colon hydrated because that is where the greater absorption of water and mineral salts occur.
To achieve the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber per day is important to eat whole grains and flours, add wheat bran or oatmeal to fruit juices, soups and purees, eating whole bread and grains, and finally, consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, especially those with higher fiber content.
Foods That Contain More Fiber Are:
- Fruits: apple, peach, pear, tangerine.
- Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, spinach, summer squash, tomato, and winter squash.
- Starchy Vegetables: baked beans, kidney beans, lima beans and potato.
- Grains: whole-wheat bread, brown rice, cereal, oatmeal, white rice.
Your doctor or dietitian will prescribe the adequate diet for diverticulosis and will also advise you to incorporate a dietary supplement rich in fiber as Citrucel or Metamucil. These nutraceutical products are concentrated in fiber (2 to 3.5 grams per tablespoon) without chemicals or additives. They should be ingested in small amounts accompanied by a glass of water. Proper diet for diverticulosis must exclude some foods that contain seeds that may fall within the diverticula and promote inflammation and infection (diverticulitis). These foods are tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, and raspberries, as well as poppy seeds. However, this measure has no scientific support.
It is recommended to eat high-fiber foods because it is proven that they improve constipation often experienced by patients with diverticulosis, and because it helps keep the colon empty. According to individual tolerance of each person, the nutritionist will adapt the diet. Patients can keep a journal of what they consume in a day in order to identify possible intolerances.
If the patient with diverticulosis has symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating and constipation, the doctor may prescribe a medication such as antispasmodics, but due to side effects that they can cause, they may be avoided in order to improve symptoms with diet.
Long Distance Telephone Appointments
If you are not local to the clinic, Michelle Honda PhD Holistic Doctor can conduct telephone appointments with you very easily. So if you are anywhere in North America, you can now successfully receive high end, specialized help for your Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If you are local to the clinic in Hamilton, Toronto or Mississauga Ontario – by all means come in for your appointment. If not, telephone appointments are very popular and convenient.