Could I Have Diverticulitis?

Do you feel frequent belly pain, but can't seem to get rid of it? You may be suffering from diverticulitis, especially if you already are affected by diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is when pouches called diverticula form in the wall of your colon. It is when those pouches are inflamed or infected that it turns into diverticulitis.

stomach cramps

Diverticulitis can be a very painful condition, and doctors aren't exactly sure what causes the pouches in your colon in the first place. However, a low-fiber diet could play a role, because that means your colon has to work harder than usual to push stool forward. The pressure from that extra effort may cause pouches to form in weak spots along your colon. When feces get trapped in those pouches, it allows bacteria to grow and can lead to inflammation or infection.

If you don't get as much fiber as you should and you suffer from any of the symptoms below, which could last anywhere from a few hours to a week or more, you should talk to you doctor about treatment for diverticulitis:

  • Belly pain: Usually you will experience belly pain in your lower left side, and it can become worse with movement. This is the most common symptom of diverticulitis.
  • Bloating or gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting or lack of appetite

If you describe these symptoms to your doctor and express concern about diverticulitis, she may perform a blood test or other test like an X-ray or CT scan. Treatment for diverticulitis varies depending on the severity of your symptoms, but oftentimes you will be put on an all-liquid diet until you feel better. Your doctor also might give you antibiotics or pain medicine. Break out the heating pad you use for bad menstrual cramps when you feel belly pain and take medicine like Tylenol. If the treatment your doctor prescribes is not effective, surgery may be required.

A good way to avoid diverticulitis in the first place is to eat plenty of fiber and drink the recommended 64 ounces of water every day. Check out these snacks full of fiber to keep at your desk to ensure you're getting enough fiber throughout the day!

>> Read more: Importance of Fiber in Your Diet