Diverticulosis is a condition of the colon, in which the muscular wall gives way in places and allows the mucous membrane lining the large intestine to form pouches. These pouches are known as diverticula, a name, which comes from the word "diverted". They become lodging places for decaying particles of food or faecal matter.
The disease by itself is of no consequence. Sometimes, however, dicerticula become inflammed, as they do not have muscles in their walls and cannot empty themselves. This condition is known as diverticulitis. This disease is usually established by means of X-rays. It usually occurs in the middle and later years.
Symptoms of Diverticulosis are: The main symptoms of diverticulitis are pain in the left lower side of the abdomen, diarrhoea or constipation or alternation of the two, and bleeding. Attacks may recur over a long time.
Severe complications may arise from the tendency of obstructed diverticula to perforate and thus give rise to peri-colic abcess, peritonitis or fistula to bladder, vagina or other parts of the guts. Inflammatory masses may form and may result in obstructive symptoms, which closely resemble carcinoma of the colon. Such complications may require surgical treatment.
Persons with diverticulosis frequently develop anaemia. The bacteria in the diverticula, caused by stagnant food and faecal matter, appear to grab all the B vitamin and folic acid from the food and prevent it from reaching the blood. This condition is corrected when these putrefactive bacteria are destroyed by a generous intake of yogurt oracidophilus milk provided the diet contains folic acid. The patient may also develop other intestinal and general problems due to the increase of toxins generated by this condition.
Causes of Diverticulosis: The prime cause of diverticutosis or diverticulitis is low-residue diet of highly refined foods. The disease is rare in primitive tribes, who consume high-roughage diet. It is thus, primarily a deficiency disease caused by deficiency of `high-residue` foods like whole, unrefined, natural and bulky foods.
Another cause of this disease is severe mental tension. When tension is great, gas cannot be expelled normally and is forced against the intestinal walls. This may sometimes lead to the formation of diverticula and ultimately result in diverticutosis or diverticulitis.
Treatment of Diverticulosis: Modern medical system in most cases prescribes surgery to remove the diverticula. But the surgical removal of old diverticula does not prevent the formation of new ones. The best way to treat the disease is through natural methods. The treatment should aim at improving digestion, decreasing gas formation, building stronger intestinal walls to resist the formation of diverticula and relieving stress to avoid tension building up in the body.
Diet plays an important role in this treatment. The emphasis should be on high roughage diet consisting of seeds, nuts and whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Seeds may be consumed in the sprouted form. Cooked cereals like millet, brown rice and oats are beneficial. Sour milk like yogurt and buttermilk, potatoes and flax seeds should be taken daily in adequate quantities.
The patient should take small, frequent meals, rather than few large ones. He should avoid refined and processed foods, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles and animal foods.
If the disease is accompanied by constipation, all measures should be adopted for `its eradication through natural methods. Purgatives should not be used. If constipation occurs despite the patient adhering to the diet of natural foods, warm water enema should be used to cleanse the bowels. If the patient is over-weight, he should take a diet of natural foods aimed at reducing the weight.
The use of bran is considered highly beneficial in the treatment of diverticutosis or diverticulitis. Unprocessed wheat bran five times the fibre of ordinary whole wheat. The quantity of bran to be used varies from one table spoon daily to three table spoons three times a day, depending on the severity of the disease Most of the patients, however, need two spoons of bran three times a day, to render the stools soft and easy to pass. The patient can be increased, if necessary, after two weeks until the patient can move his bowels once or twice a day without straining. As it is difficult to eat bran dry, it may be sprinkled on ceregls, or mixed with porridge, or added to soup or taken with milk or water.
Certain vegetable juices have been found beneficial in the ireatment of diverticulosis. These include juices extracted from carrot, beet and green vegetables. The best fruit juices are those extracted from papaya, apple, pineapple and lemon.
The use of vitamins can also help in diverticulosis. Vitamin E is a well known muscle strengthner and should be used liberally by the patient. Vitamins of group B are needed, not only to provide the folic acid but to prevent stress and strengthen nerves. Vitamin C can help greatly in removing toxic matter from the body. Minerals are also needed in diverticulosis. Potassium, manganese, calcium and magnesium, all can help strengthen the muscular and nervous systems.