Diverticulosis is usually not accompanied by any obvious symptoms. However, people with this condition commonly have pieces of fecal matter lodged into the sacs of the colon, where they stagnate and can cause a buildup of toxins. Symptoms of diverticulitis are much more noticeable, and can range from gripping abdominal pain, excessive gas, sluggish elimination, constipation, diarrhea and mucous in the stools. In certain cases, the pain can be great and mimic that of appendicitis, and is often linked to IBS, irritable bowel syndrome.
The primary cause of both diverticulosis and diverticulitis is a poor diet that is lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables and other fiber-rich foods. Other causes can include food allergies, lack of exercise, “leaky gut” syndrome, and pharmaceutical medications.
Poor Diet: An unhealthy diet is the primary cause of both conditions. Such a diet is high in commercially processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and foods with additives and unhealthy fats, such as hydrogenated and trans fats. The majority of oils found on the grocery store shelves are chemically extracted or synthetic, and none are actually safe to consume with the exception of extra virgin olive oil, that is best if purchased in dark glass bottles. To find healthy consumable oils, one must shop outside of the conventional grocery stores at health food stores, where a wide variety of healthy options can be found. Typical foods found in grocery stores contain an abundance of chemical additives and preservatives while lacking adequate amounts of fiber. Eating a diet such as this, not only places a great burden on the gastrointestinal tract, it can also result in serious nutritional deficiencies. All of these factors, combined, can lead to excess acidity in the GI tract, indigestion, poor absorption of food nutrients, “leaky gut” syndrome, a buildup of toxins, and autoimmune reactions.
Food Allergies: Food allergies, while often overlooked or misdiagnosed by conventional physicians, are another potential cause of diverticulosis and diverticulitis, as well as many other disease conditions. If you suffer from either of these conditions, it is very important that you be tested for food allergies and sensitivities. Common allergy-causing foods include milk and dairy products, wheat, gluten (a component of wheat products), corn, soy, peanuts, and chocolate, but any food has the potential to cause food allergies. Often times, the most aggravating foods are ones that are commonly eaten as staples in ones diet, foods you continue to eat over and over. Note that it is common to crave the very foods you are allergic to. Food allergies alone can and frequently are the very cause of serious digestive stress.
Lack of Exercise: Failure to exercise regularly can result in diminished production of digestive and pancreatic enzymes, as well as hydrochloric acid (HCl), all of which are necessary for healthy gastrointestinal function and which, if lacking, can result in a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders.
“Leaky Gut” Syndrome: “Leaky gut” syndrome refers to a condition caused by damage to the intestinal lining, specifically the mucosa. As a result, of this damage, undigested food particles, as well as various microorganisms that normally remain within the GI tract pass through the intestines into the bloodstream. This, in turn, causes the immune system to overreact, producing antibodies that attack the cells of the intestines. In addition to GI disorders, “leaky gut” syndrome has also been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Pharmaceutical Medications: The following medications can all cause and exacerbate various gastrointestinal disorders, including colitis: Accutane, Alka-Seltzer Antacid and Alka-Seltzer Pain Reliever, Anturane, Genuine Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Plus Aspirin, Bayer Regular Strength Enteric Aspirin, Bufferin Analgesic Tablets and Caplets, Ceptaz, Clinoril, Cuprimine, Ecotrin Enteric Coated Aspirin, Feldene, Ilosone, Lamprene, Leukine for IV Infusion, Lopid, Marplan, Meclomen, Novantrone, Paraplatin, Piroxicam, Prokine I.V. Infusion, Retrovir, Rynatuss, Supprelin Injection, Suprax, Ticlid, Tolectin, Toradol IM Injection, Trecator-SC, Trilisate, and Voltaren.