Diverticulitis is the inflammation of the small pouchlike (diverticula) found along the large intestine (colon). Once diverticula develop, they do not go away. The diverticula themselves cause no symptoms, but when food particles become lodged in them, the colon becomes inflamed and infected.

Symptoms of diverticulitis include cramping, bloating, severe pain in the lower abdomen, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and an almost continual need to eliminate. There may be blood in the stool and if infection occurs, fever can develop.

Some people have no symptoms at all for years before having an attack with pain. In severe cases, this condition progresses to a potentially fatal stage called peritonitis.

Individuals at high risk for diverticulitis include those who are obese or who have poor eating habits, family history of the disease, gallbladder disease or coronary artery disease. It usually strikes people between the ages of fifty and ninety. Because the walls of the intestines weaken as a person ages, the condition is more common in older people.

Diverticulitis is also common in people who suffer from frequent constipation. Without dietary fiber to soften and add bulk, stools are harder to pass. Increased pressure is required to force small portions of hard, dry stool through the bowel. This increased pressure can cause pouches to form at weak points in the wall of the colon.

A proper diet is essential for relief of this condition. The most effective prevention for diverticulitis is to AVOID constipation. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by a high fiber intake (25 to 35 grams per day - but not during an attack) and an increase in fluids (6 glasses daily), which helps prevent dehydration of intestinal material. Liquid vitamins and foods that are mashed or ground may be necessary when there is a flare up.

People can have "diverticulosis" (they have the pouches) without having "diverticulitis" (inflammation of the pouches). Eating a diet high in fiber and getting regular exercise can promote good bowel habits and minimize your risk of developing diverticulitis.

If you develop fever and severe abdominal pain, contact your physician immediately. You may have an infection within the digestive tract, which may require prompt medical attention.

Helpful Supplements:

Vitamin A - protects and heals the lining of the colon. Take 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily.

Vitamin B Complex - promotes healing. Since some of the B vitamins are manufactured by the intestinal bacteria, a deficiency may occur if these bacteria are destroyed by the infection. It is therefore necessary that the diet provide adequate amounts of the B vitamins, especially folic acid. Take 100 milligrams three times daily.

Vitamin C - reduces inflammation and boosts immune system response. Take 3,000 to 8,000 milligrams daily in divided doses.

Vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant that will help in healing an irritated colon. Take up to 800 IU daily.

Vitamin K - a deficiency has been linked to intestinal disorders. Take 100 micrograms daily.

Acidophilus - will destroy decayed bacteria in the colon and aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria and the manufacture of B vitamins. Take 1 teaspoon three times daily on an empty stomach.

Essential fatty acids - improves lymphatic function and aids in protecting the cells lining the walls of the colon. Primrose oil, flaxseed oil and salmon oil are all good sources. Take as directed on label before meals.

Free form amino acid complex - to supply protein needed for healing and tissue repair. Take as directed on label on an empty stomach 1/2 hour before meals.

Proteolytic enzymes - aids in digestion and reduces inflammation of the colon. Take between meals as directed on label.

Herbal Supplements:

Herbal supplements should only be used in amounts typically recommended for medicinal purposes and you should always consult with a health professional first, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription medications.

Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamin K and valuable dietary minerals, which are deficient in those with intestinal disorders. In addition, it contains chlorophyll, which aids healing. Take 2,000 milligrams daily in capsule or extract form.

Aloe vera helps to gently clean the intestinal tract and promotes the healing of inflamed areas. It helps to prevent constipation. Take 1 teaspoon gel after meals. Do not take more, it can act as a laxative.

Garlic promotes healing. Take 2 capsules with meals.

Pau d'arco has an antibacterial, cleansing and healing effect. Drink 2 cups of tea daily.

Psyllium supplies fiber, which softens the stool and cleans the intestines. Take 1 teaspoon in water once or twice a daily.

Other herbs that may benefit those with diverticulitis include cayenne, chamomile, fennel, goldenseal, meadowsweet, papaya, red clover, yarrow extract or tea.

Chamomile - do not use on an ongoing basis, as ragweed allergy may result. If you are allergic to ragweed - AVOID it completely.
Goldenseal - do not use during pregnancy or for more than one week at a time. Use under a doctor's supervision if you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or glaucoma.

Author's Bio: 

Edith Lingenfelter-webmaster of Age-old Herbs shows how "self defense" is natures oldest law on how to prevent your health concerns by means of natural healing herbs with herbal and dietary supplements. Learn how to protect your health by visiting www.age-oldherbs.com