What is diverticulos is and how does it happen?

    Diverticulosis is the presence of weak areas or pouches in the wall of the large intestine. The pouches are usually in the part of the intestine called the colon. The pouches, called diverticula, look somewhat like small thumbs poking out of the side of the colon. Diverticula occur when the pressure inside the colon is too high. The main cause of high pressure appears to be too little fiber in the diet. Fiber helps keep digested food bulky and soft as it passes through the colon. This makes it easier for the food to move through the intestine without too much pressure.


    What is a diverticulos is diet?

    A diverticulosis diet is basically a high-fiber diet. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest.


    Foods to eat more of:

    The simplest way to increase the fiber in your diet is to eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grain foods. This means eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Whole grains are easiest to eat as cereals, such as 100% bran or shredded wheat cereals. Bran, oats, or whole wheat flour may be baked into breads or muffins. You can also sprinkle bran flakes on to other foods, such as salads, yogurt, or cereal.


    Foods to avoid:

    Some physicians recommend avoiding foods that may get stuck in the diverticula, such as popcorn, raisins, whole kernel corn, and peanuts. However, there is no proof that seeds and nuts increase risk for diverticulitis.


    What is Diverticulitis?

    Diverticulitis happens when one or more of the diverticula becomes inflamed. Inflammation occurs when diverticula become blocked with stool. Symptoms of diverticulitis may include: alternating diarrhea and constipation; severe, intermittent cramps in the lower left side of the abdomen; tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen; chills or fever; or rectal bleeding. If you experience these symptoms, you should contact your physician. While you are recovering from a bout of diverticulitis, your physician will recommend that you follow a low fiber diet, also called a low residue diet.


    This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for your care team's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.


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