Diverticular disease most often affects the colon. Its two stages are 1) diverticulosis, the abnormal presence of tiny pockets (called diverticula) that bulge out from the wall of the colon; and 2) diverticulitis, in which body wastes or bacteria become trapped in the pockets, leaving them inflamed and sometimes pierced with holes. Many people who have the first stage of the disease never progress to the second.
Homeopathy for Diverticular Disease
Homeopathic medicine can offer relief from the symptoms of diverticulosis by providing highly diluted doses of a natural substance that would produce the same symptoms if given in full strength to a healthy person. Before selecting a remedy, a homeopath questions the patient on details of the diverticulosis and assesses the general state of physical and emotional health. The following characteristics of the symptoms are carefully studied:
- Do you have pain or cramps in the abdomen?
- Does warmth or coldness ease the symptoms?
- Are bowel movements irregular? In what way?
Although homeopathic treatments need to be individualized and prescribed by a professional, common remedies may include:
- bryonia alba
- magnesia phosphorica
Nutritional Therapy for Diverticular Disease
According to nutritional therapy, a high-fiber diet that's low in fat and sugar can prevent the symptoms of diverticulosis and the development of diverticulitis. Many practitioners recommend a vegetarian diet as an effective way of meeting these suggestions. Fiber, of course, can make stool softer and easier to pass through the bowels. Lowering the intake of fat and sugars may also allow food to move through the digestive tract quicker and with fewer complications. Foods with a lot of fiber include brown rice, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Certain items that can become trapped in the intestinal pockets should be avoided, including nuts, berries with seeds, and popcorn. For the fiber to have a positive effect on bowel movements, you should increase your daily intake of water by more than five glasses. Some researchers say that vegetarians have a lower rate of diverticular disease; studies have shown that Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarians (who eat no beef, fowl, or seafood) have a diet that is higher in fiber and lower in fat than the diet of the general population and lower rates of diverticular disease and colon cancer.
For someone with diverticulosis, a naturopathic physician may recommend adopting a vegetarian diet. The following are a few food selection tips:
- Eat a wide variety of whole grains, beans, and vegetables, all of which provide protein.
- Avoid food items such as seeds and popcorn that are small enough to become trapped in intestinal pockets.
- Protein combining (eating beans together with rice, for example) is not necessary to get needed protein.
- Do not overload your meals with eggs and dairy products; this will result in a diet high in fat and cholesterol.
- Cook vegetables if raw ones cause irritation.
Other Diverticular Disease Therapies
- Acupuncture for Diverticular Disease -- Pressure on specific points may be used to relieve pain and rebalance qi.
- Detoxification, Fasting, and Colon Therapy for Diverticular Disease -- Fasting can be beneficial when the colon is irritated or inflamed. Colonic therapy is not recommended, however.
- Herbal Medicine for Diverticular Disease -- Commonly used herbs include slippery elm and chamomile. Robert's Formula, a naturopathic herbal remedy is also often prescribed.
- Hydrotherapy for Diverticular Disease -- Treatment may include warm sitz baths, cold compresses on the abdomen, and castor oil packs.