Two types of diverticular disease.
It is a condition in which multiple diverticula are in the lower bowel.
A diverticulum is an out pouching through a weakened area in the intestinal wall.
It is the inflammation of diverticula.
Inflammation results when undigested food particles and bacteria become trapped in the diverticula.
It can be acute or chronic.
Factors that may increase risk of diverticular disease.
Low fiber diets high in refined sugar.
History of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
Signs and symptoms of diverticular disease.
Pain in lower left quadrant of abdomen.
Constipation or diarrhea.
Nausea and vomiting.
Measures to prevent diverticular disease.
Eat high-fiber, high-bulk diet to prevent constipation after inflammation has subsided. (Provide "Fiber in Diet" handout.)
Eat a low-roughage diet, avoiding nuts, popcorn, raw celery, corn, etc.
Use stool softeners or bulk laxatives, avoiding harsh laxatives and enemas.
Drink at least eight glasses of fluid per day.
Establish a regular time for bowel evacuation.
Lose weight, if overweight. (Provide "Weight Reduction" handout.)
Avoid activities that may increase intra-abdominal pressure and increase symptoms:
Straining at stool.
Lifting heavy objects.
Wearing restrictive clothing.
Report symptoms of diverticular disease to physician.
Signs and symptoms of possible complications and when to report them to physician.
Intestinal obstruction (lower abdominal cramping, abdominal distention, constipation).
Peritonitis from rupture of diverticulum (fever, abdominal rigidity, and pain).
Hemorrhage (blood in stool, black tarry stools, or coffee ground vomitus).
Abscess of fistula formation.