Diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease are two distinct and separate conditions that affect the intestines of individuals. In the case of diverticulitis many physicians believe it can be result of a low fiber diet over a long period of time. Diverticula are small abnormal pouches that line the intestines and later become inflamed or infected, thus cause diverticulitis.
Symptoms of diverticulitis include cramps, gas, bloating, altered periods of diarrhea and constipation and upset stomach. Doctors estimate about ½ of all Americans age 60-80 and almost everyone over 80 has some degree of diverticulitis.
The theory is that the decreased fiber puts an increased pressure on the walls of the colon. This can cause weakened spots that allow the tissue to bulge over time. This is much of the reason that most people over 80 have some degree of the condition because the walls of their colon has been weakened from age.
A healthy diet for someone suffering from diverticulitis involves increasing the fiber in their diet, slowly over time. The recommendations from the Committee on Dietary Allowances recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. However, those with diverticulitis should increase their dietary fiber slowly to give the gastrointestinal tract time to adapt.
On the other hand the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease means an inflammation in the intestines that can form ulcers, scars and can bleed easily. The most common symptoms that someone with inflammatory bowel disease will suffer are diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, fever and fatigue. Diet and nutrition is very important to the individual suffering from inflammatory bowel disease to avoid and prevent malnutrition and weight loss.
The dietary recommendations for a healthy diet for those with ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease is to drink at least 8 to 10 servings of fluid per day to keep the body hydrated. The doctor or dietician may recommend a multi-vitamin to replace nutrients that are lost or not absorbed.
Once the inflammatory bowel disease has been brought under reasonable control the recommendations are to eat a high fiber diet. Some people find, at least initially, that it is easier for their gastrointestinal tract to adapt to the fiber and vegetables when they are steamed instead of raw.
During a flare up doctors recommend that the fiber is limited to give the bowel time to rest and reduce the symptoms. It is also important to avoid lactose foods such as dairy and to continue to eat, even during flare ups. Your body continues to require nutrition during flare ups. It may be easier to eat several small meals each day instead of three large ones.
People with inflammatory bowel disease should limit their intake of caffeine, alcohol and sorbitol (a manufactured sweetener) because these can make the symptoms worse. By limiting fiber foods that also produce gas such as those from the fiber family, onions, chives, peppers and carbonated drinks.
Eating for diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease has some distinct similarities which include limiting sugars and high fats and eating a high fiber diet to help the body to heal.