Diverticular disease unfolds in two stages and affects the colon. The stage one is called diverticulosis in which pouches called diverticula bulge out in the colon. These pouches are weak spots and can become inflamed in stage 2 causing the condition called diverticulitis.
Diverticular disease is an age related disease. Your chances of getting it at the age of 40 are very high. The odds keep increasing every 10 years. Almost 50 % of the people between the ages of 60 and 80 have diverticular disease. It is rare to not have some degree of diverticular disease above the age of 80. Almost everyone gets it at that age.
Though the exact cause of diverticular disease is not clearly known, a strong correlation has been found with low fiber diet. Fiber is a part of food found in many fruits and vegetables. It stays in the colon and absorbs water, which makes bowel movements easier to pass. Since fiber is not digested by the body it moves out from the body along with digestive waste and toxins.
Diets low in fiber usually cause constipation making the stool hard and difficult to pass. Constipation causes straining of muscles which may cause diverticula to form in the colon. When stool or bacteria get caught in the pouches, diverticulitis can occur.
Since there are two stages of diverticular disease, the symptoms of diverticulosis and diverticulitis significantly differ. You may not have any symptoms of diverticulosis, but in some cases, cramping, bloating and constipation can be the early warning signs.
If you have diverticulitis then you will feel more severe symptoms, including pain in the lower part of the abdomen, fevers, feel sick to your stomach or vomit. Even your bowel habits may change.
Who gets diverticular disease?
How and When to use Home Remedies for Diverticular Disease
Depending on which stage of diverticular disease you are in, your treatment will be done. If you are suffering from diverticulosis then the treatment is different and if you are suffering from diverticulitis then a more serious look is required before using home remedies.
If you have rectal bleeding then you should consult your doctor. Doctor will decide whether drug administration can stop the bleeding or surgery is required. But in most cases of diverticular disease you can just make some dietary and lifestyle changes and you will be alright.
1. Change Your Diet to High Fiber
Begin by high fiber diet in liquid form first. Take fruit and vegetable juices. Though fiber content reduces in the juice as compared to the fruit, the solid food may hurt your colon with diverticular disease. Once you begin to feel better, you can move to solid fruits and vegetables.
You have a large variety of fiber rich foods to choose from. Some of them are listed below:
- Fruits- Apples, peaches, pears, and tangerines
- Vegetables- Broccoli, squash, carrots, and brussels sprouts
- Starchy Vegetables -Potatoes, baked beans, kidney beans, and lima beans
- Grains -Whole-wheat bread, brown rice, bran flake cereal, and oatmeal
Remember that excess fiber is also not good. So see what suits you and then slowly increase the quantities until it is enough.
2. Eat Yogurt
Yogurt will fight the bad bacteria in case you have diverticulitis. The inflammation caused by stalled stool may be get infection. Yogurt is rich with lactobacillus bacteria which is a good bacteria that fights the bad bacteria.
Most cases of early stages of diverticular disease often get cured by the above dietary changes.
3. Apply a heating Pad
The mild cramps and pain caused by diverticular disease can be easily reduced by applying heating pad to your affected abdomen area. Practice yoga and meditation. Deep breathing helps a lot in the pain relief process.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera reduces inflammation and soothes the stomach by improving digestion. Prepare Aloe Vera drink and consume 2-3 times a day. Remove the Aloe Vera gel from a fresh leaf by removing the outer layer. Put the gel in the blender. Add some water. You can add lemon juice. Do not add sugar. The juice may not be very tasty but is very healthy.
5. Licorice for Diverticulitis
Licorice root helps in lowering stomach acid levels and clear your colon of wastes. You can add licorice root powder in your food.
If you have diverticular disease then make sure that you change your diet habits as you begin to get symptoms. Once your symptoms disappear with the use of the changed dit continue it for ever to avoid future attacks of diverticular disease. It means a fiber rich diet forever. Avoid use of laxatives as they may become habit and interfere with the bowel movement more frequently.