60. Diverticulosis: Take Action If You Have the Symptoms

With diverticulosis, small saclike pockets protrude from the intestinal wall. Increased pressure within the intestines seems to be responsible. The pockets (called diverticula) can fill with intestinal waste, causing tenderness, cramps, and abdominal pain, usually on the lower left side of the abdomen. Sometimes the pouches become inflamed, in which case the condition is called diverticulitis. In most cases, though, diverticulosis causes no discomfort or inflammation. Bleeding is rare.

Diverticular disease can’t be cured, but you can reduce the discomfort and prevent complications. Drink 1-1/2 to 2 quarts of water a day. Add more fiber to your diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Ask your doctor about taking a bulk-forming laxative (brand names Benefiber, Citrucel, and Metamucil).

If you have diverticulosis and experience the following symptoms, get medical treatment.

  1. Blood in the stool.

  2. Fever.

  3. Chills.

  4. Increased lower abdominal pain made worse when you have a bowel movement.

Chapter 2
  1. Major Medical Conditions:

  2. Prevention, Detection, and Treatment