Diverticular disease is a condition that affects the large bowel, causing small pockets or pouches to protrude beyond the bowel wall. These small pockets are known as diverticula.
Often people are not aware that they have diverticular disease and have no symptoms, and it is discovered during an investigation such as a colonoscopy or routine screening for other conditions. Sometimes people have developed some digestive symptoms such as
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that you consult your GP who can recommend tests or investigations to find the cause of your symptoms.
Sometimes, but not always, the pouches of diverticular disease can become infected. When this happens the condition is called diverticulitis and the symptoms are
• Severe pain
• Loss of appetite
• Bleeding and changes in bowel habit
Diverticulitis often requires a stay in hospital and treatment with antibiotics, often during this time dietary modifications are also recommended and you should see a registered dietitian to make sure that you are following the best diet for your condition.
Once the episode of diverticulitis has passed, your dietitian will be able to advise on the best diet to follow and how to gradually reintroduce a healthy diet.
You are more likely to develop diverticular disease if you have been prone to constipation, or have followed a low fibre diet. The best way to avoid diverticula from forming and to treat asymptomatic diverticular disease is to follow a high fibre, healthy diet which will help to avoid constipation and help to keep the bowel healthy.
In addition to following a high fibre diet, it is also recommended to drink plenty of fluids such as water, squashes, fruit juices and to take plenty of exercise.
If you have been diagnosed with diverticular disease or have had an episode of diverticulitis and are wondering whether you are following the correct diet for your condition, contact Stanner Nutrition Clinic
for reliable, experienced dietetic advice and expertise.