What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis or diverticular disease is when there is an infection or inflammation of pouches formed in your intestines. Each of those pouches are called diverticulum. These pouches are relatively not harmful unless infected or inflamed.
The pouches are formed when a person the pressure inside the intestine is too high and frequent, it pushes the weak spot on intestine wall and forms pouches. As time goes by, the constant pressure would enlarge the pouches further and increase the risk of infection or inflammation.
What are the causes of diverticulum and diverticulitis?
When our intestines are exposed to constant high pressure, it would cause formation of pouches on weak spots on our intestine wall. The cause of high pressure in the intestine is relatively simple – lack of fiber in diet. Diets lack fiber would require more pressure to pass faeces out as fibres are able to absorb water and increase the size of faeces and make pooping easier.
When diverticulum is already formed, it can get infected or inflamed when they are torn during bowel movement or blocked by faeces.
Furthermore, the risk of getting diverticulitis increases as you age, most common among people 40 years old and older. There are other risk factor that may cause diverticulitis:
- Being overweight
- Smoking cigarettes
- Lack of exercise
- Eating diet high in fat and red meat and lack fiber
How to manage diverticulitis
After infection and inflammation has been treated by a doctor, it is best to consume partial-solid to liquid diet to allow the intestine to heal.
Ironically, try eating low-fiber food as it can worsen the condition and prevent it from healing. Only when it has fully healed, is it encouraged to consume high-fibre diet or snacks/meal to prevent further redevelopment of diverticulitis. Other management could be:
- High FODMAP food (high-fibre diet)
- Reduce red and processed meat
- Reduce food high in sugar and fat
- Moderate physical activity/exercise
Hence, consuming prebiotic and probiotic might be a good option of management after recovering from diverticulitis treatment as it contains fibres as well as gut friendly bacteria that can help with digestion and prevent pressure build-up in the intestine.