Coping With Diverticulitis: A Diabetic dilemma
Chances are, you don’t think much about your digestive tract, unless it’s giving you trouble. Continuing pain in the abdomen could mean trouble. It probably is not just a simple tummy ache.
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is when some of the people with diverticulosis develop infections or an inflammation in these little sacs that protrude out. Only a small number of people with diverticulosis have diverticulitis.
The symptoms of diverticulitis are usually abdominal pain. Usually in the left, lower part of the abdomen. Pain, sometimes you can have fever, and tenderness; which means if you push on the abdomen you have pain with the pushing on it. These are the most common symptoms.
If it becomes very severe then it requires putting the patient in the hospital for treatment. Only a small number of people with diverticulitis have perforation, which is a serious condition where there’s a small little hole or a tear in one of these little sacs that leaks the contents of the bowel into the abdomen. That is a serious condition that usually requires surgery.
Diverticulitis, most cases of diverticulitis are acute. It’s a sudden attack, the patients know about it. But a small number of patients have recurrent, acute diverticulitis. They have recurrent episodes of these attacks. A small number of them can develop chronic diverticular disease, which is kind of a low grade degree of diverticulitis with some mild and chronic low grade discomfort. So it is possible for diverticulitis to become chronic to some extent.
One of the most prevalent signs of diverticulitis is a pain in the abdomen on the left side of the body that lasts longer than several days. It is not nearly as common on the right side of the body, but that does not mean it will not ever occur on the right side. Ethnicity, diet, and other factors play a significant role in the development of diverticulitis on the right side. If this pain lasts longer than a day or two, it is more likely a symptom of diverticulitis than a more common issue such as an upset stomach or constipation.
Coping With Diverticulitis: A Diabetic Dilemma – Diabetes and Diverticulitis
So, you have spent the last couple of days in the hospital, in pain as they pumped anti-biotics into you and probably an MRI. Then, your Doctor comes in and tells you, you are doing great and being sent home. He babbles along about diet, etc. It all sounds great, however your mind is mostly set on getting home.
Once home and the hugs and kisses are done it finally hits you. What Now? That paper included in the discharge papers is difficult to understand at best and was copied of a very crappy copier.
You remember something about diet, fiber, and being careful when eating.
Most patients return home confused and not sure how to proceed. And, being a diabetic makes the experience down right freighting.
This link has some great videos that can help. However, discussing diet is vital if you want to stay away from another flare up that could land you back in the hospital.
Diet: What can I do?
The best way to prevent diverticulitis is to modify your diet and lifestyle.
Here are some tips for Coping With Diverticulitis: A Diabetic Dilemma
- Bulk up your diet by adding an over-the-counter preparation containing psyllium, derived from the plant Plantago psyllium. You can also try ground psyllium seed: Once a day, add 1 teaspoon ground psyllium seed over any cold liquid and drink within a few minutes of preparing, before the mixture gels.
- Drink plenty of fluids (at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day) if you increase your intake of fiber.
Avoid refined foods, such as white flour, white rice, and other processed foods.
- Prevent constipation by trying over-the-counter stool softeners. However, don’t use suppositories or laxatives for constipation on a long-term basis without consulting your doctor. Prunes, prune juice, and psyllium seed are all good natural laxatives. Specially formulated teas to fight constipation are available in health food stores, but some may be very strong, so use them only as directed. Avoid products containing senna (Cassia senna), which is an especially strong herbal laxative and can be habit forming. Also, senna can cause staining of the lining of the colon, which may result in a condition called melanosis coli. Polyethylene glycol (MiraLax) is a useful laxative for short-term use in constipation.
- Eat more fiber by adding whole-grain breads, oatmeal, bran cereals, fibrous fresh fruits, and vegetables to your diet. However, take care to add fiber gradually. A sudden switch to a high-fiber diet can cause bloating and gas.
- Lastly, a regimen of drinking pure aloe vera juice can do wonders for diverticulitis as well as your entire health.
You can always request a referral to see a Nutritionist. Your diabetes specialist (Endocrinologist) can also be of invaluable information to help you. Especially if you need to change your medication. Using your entire diabetic team will help you!