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Diverticulitis
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Diverticulitis

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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Diseases & Conditions  

Diverticulitis occurs in people with diverticulosis. It most commonly affects the sigmoid colon, which is the last part of the large intestine just before the rectum. Diverticulitis is more common in people older than 40. It can be severe in people of any age, although it is most serious in the elderly, especially those taking corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system and thus increase the hazards of infection.

Prevention

The following measures can help prevent or slow the progression of diverticular disease:

  • Eat more fiber. High-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, soften waste material and help it pass more quickly through your colon. This reduces pressure inside your digestive tract. Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Try to substitute fruits, vegetables and grain products for foods high in fat. Be sure to add fiber gradually to avoid bloating, abdominal discomfort and gas. If you have a hard time consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day, consider using a fiber supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil, Fiberall) or methylcellulose (Citrucel).

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fiber works by absorbing water and increasing the soft, bulky waste in your colon. But if you don't drink enough liquid to replace what's absorbed, fiber can be constipating. Try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other beverages that don't contain caffeine or alcohol every day.

  • Respond to bowel urges. When you need to use the bathroom, don't delay. Delaying bowel movements leads to harder stools that require more force to pass and increased pressure within your colon.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise promotes normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside your colon. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days.

 

 

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