What is diverticular disease?
Diverticular disease affects nearly ten percent of the population over the age of 40 and nearly 50 percent of the population over 60 years of age. Diverticular disease is, in most cases, free from recognisable symptoms with the exception of chronic constipation, which seems to be a common symptom. For those who do develop other symptoms, the most common complaint is intermittent and unpredictable griping lower abdominal pain often accompanied by a fever.
There are actually three medical terms for this disease which are classified as follows:
Diverticulosis – This term is used to describe people who do not exhibit the normal signs of this disease and are only diagnosed with diverticulosis after they have undergone scans and tests for other concerns.
Diverticular disease – This term is used to describe people who exhibit chronic symptoms such as wind, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Diverticulitis – This is inflammation of the diverticula which are small pouches on the large intestine. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain often below the navel moving to the left and fever. The symptoms can appear and disappear for no known reason so the sufferer may go for days without any symptoms at all.
The symptoms of diverticular disease are very similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and are very difficult to distinguish.
How do you treat diverticular disease?
Many individuals develop one or more pouches or sacs in the lining of the large intestine or colon. A single pouch is called a diverticulum whereas multiple pouches are called diverticula. These pouches are generally harmless and go unnoticed except when they become infected or inflamed, as occurs with diverticulitis. Diverticulitis requires medical treatment which often involves the use of antibiotics, rest, dietary changes though in severe cases surgical procedure may be undertaken.
For many though, the symptoms of diverticular disease, mentioned above, are not treated by conventional use of antibiotics and these people are told to simply rest and introduce fibre into their diet.
The main causal factor for diverticulitis is thought to be a lack of fibre which leads to constipation. The stagnant food causes the release of toxins which can inflame the walls of the intestines causing more pouches to develop. The inflammation makes the lining more susceptible to infection. The straining associated with constipation can cause further weaknesses in the intestinal walls which leads to more pouches.
Why is fibre so important for easing diverticular disease?
As above, a diet low in fibre is thought to be the main cause for diverticular disease and hence it would be prudent to increase dietary fibre. Foods high in fibre that should ideally be included in our daily consumption.
- Cereal fibres
- Root vegetables
- Most fruits
You can nevertheless increase your fibre intake alongside your dietary intake of fibre by using supplements rich in fibre such as Complete Fibre Cleanse. This supplement contains a blend of both soluble and insoluble fibres together with mucilages which soothe the inflamed gut whilst cleansing it of matter that may be lodged inside the pouches.
One of the best ways of decreasing inflammation in the gut is to use a Paleo diet. By reducing inflammatory grains and omega 6 fatty acids, we can reduce intestinal inflammation and encourage gut healing. A Paleo diet is normally a low fibre diet however for diverticular disease we need to increase the fibre intake. One should concentrate on gelatinous cuts of meat, bone broth, well cooked vegetables rich in fibre and fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut.
The best supplement to help improve symptoms of diverticular disease
The human gut is the host to hundreds of bacteria, some beneficial whilst others not so. The bad bacteria are usually kept in check by the beneficial bacteria, which produce lactic acid inhibiting the bad bacteria from thriving. In diverticular disease, there is often an imbalance between the good and the bad bacteria with the bad bacteria overgrowing, a term referred to as dysbiosis. This bacterial overgrowth along with stagnant faecal matter inside the pouches has been shown to contribute to inflammation and infection. Achieving bacteria balance is therefore vital in order to reduce intestinal inflammation.
Symprove is a water-based multi-strain probiotic supplement that contains 4 unique strains of live activated bacteria. Symprove contains L. rhamnosus, E. faecium, L. acidophilus and L. plantarum. These four beneficial strains of bacteria are presented in a delivery system which ensures that the bacteria are live from the start, survive the strong acid environment of the stomach and thrive in the intestines to calm inflammation. Because Symprove is water based, it does not trigger digestion and hence survives the acidic environment within the stomach.
Symprove has been the subject of several independent trials. Trials at King’s College Hospital in London have already shown Symprove liquid probiotic to be effective in relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in 60% of sufferers within 12 weeks. Researchers from King’s and Darents Valley Hospital in Kent found that patients with ulcerative colitis had significant reductions in faecal levels of calprotectin, a protein released by the cells in the intestine when they are inflamed.
There is currently a study being carried out by King’s specifically on diverticulitis and the use of Symprove liquid probiotic and the team expects to present its findings in the next few months. Based on the other studies, there is nothing to suggest that Symprove will not be equally effective at helping to improve the symptoms of diverticulitis.
Symprove liquid probiotic is available as Symprove Original or Symprove Mango and Passionfruit. By reducing our intestinal inflammation, balancing our gut bacteria, and improving our intestinal motility it is likely that we can prevent diverticulitis attacks or at least abate the symptoms of diverticular disease.