Diverticulitis Ayurvedic Treatment

A small pouch-like growth in the lining of intestine (commonly seen at colon/ large intestine) is called Diverticula. It is usually developed at the weakest portions of intestine. The presence of single or multiple diverticula in intestine is termed as diverticulosis. Usually, it is harmless and common in people above 40 years of age. When one or more diverticula becomes inflamed or infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. Tear of diverticula is the cause of its inflammation/ infection. Severe diverticulitis need treatment or even surgery. 

Signs and symptoms

 The common signs and symptoms of diverticulitis are severe and constant pain at the lower abdomen (either left or right side), tenderness over abdomen, constipation or diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting. 

Ayurvedic analysis

 Apana vayu is the type of vata that controls the bodily functions like assimilation of food in small and large intestine, separation of nutrients and waste materials at the end part of intestine, excretion of waste materials, pregnancy, childbirth etc. Agni is the other major factor that is related with digestion, assimilation and formation of waste faeces etc. Apana vaigunya (derangement of functions of apana vayu) causes difficulties like indigestion, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain etc; and that of agni/ pitta leads to ulcers/ pus formation in intestine, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever etc. certain conditions that involve apana vaigunya and agnidushti are gulma (abnormal growths in intestine/ abdominal organs), atisara (diarrhoea), arshas (haemorrhoids), parikarthika (fissure-in-ano), koshta vidradhi (ulcerations in intestine) etc. 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

 The common causes of apana vaigunya are ageing, sedentary habit, irregular bowel habits, consumption of food containing less dietary fibre/ heavy to digest food etc, continuous journey etc. Agnidushti is caused by altered diet pattern (heavy/ spicy/ oily/ dry food, eating too much, frequent food intake without proper digestion of previous meals etc), day sleep, stress, irregular bowel pattern etc. Both these factors together lead to discomforts/ diseases mentioned above. 

Possible complications

Acute diverticulitis may lead to complications like obstruction in intestine, abscess filled with pus, fistula connecting parts of intestine or intestine and abdominal organs, peritonitis etc. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Certain medicines like NSAIDs, steroids etc can cause diverticulitis. It is also seen in obese person, those leading a sedentary lifestyle, consuming less-fibre rich food etc. Other conditions such as appendicitis, colitis etc should be ruled out before planning treatment for diverticulitis. 

Management

 This condition can be managed by correcting agni and apana vayu. Internal medications supported by dietary as well as lifestyle modifications are enough in most cases, otherwise procedures like snehapana (oral administration of lipid formulation), swedana (eg: steam bath), virechana (purgation therapy), vasthi (enema with suitable drugs), varthi (suppository) etc. 

Diet

 The person with diverticulitis must take more fibre-rich food such as whole grains, green and leafy vegetables; fruits; and water. Avoid the consumption of heavy to digest fatty food, spicy items, dry food, processed and junk food etc. 

Exercise

 Exercises that promote bowel movements help a lot to manage the symptoms. It prevents constipation and improves digestion. Follow the instructions of physician for a better exercise protocol. 

Preventive aspects

 Ageing causes weakening of intestinal tissues. in order to prevent this, the following techniques can be adopted:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat fibre-rich food
  • Avoid over-eating, and control the consumption of heavy food, oily food, junk food, carbonated drinks, spicy food etc
  • Avoid travelling/ physical exertion soon after having food
  • Take dinner at least one hour before sleep
  • Lay on left lateral side to sleep after dinner
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stick on to a regular bowel habit
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Quit smoking and limit the consumption of alcohol

Importance of diet

 The nature of diet determines the health of intestine. Do not torture the bowel with food containing high amount of fat, less dietary fibre, spicy food etc. Never be adapted to heavy food, junk or processed food, carbonated drinks etc. 

Lifestyle 

 The people with diverticulitis must avoid chances of constipation, take more fibre-containing food, fruits/ fruit juices etc, drink enough water, exercise regularly, maintain healthy body weight, avoid smoking, alcoholism, day sleep, sedentary habit etc. Purgation with suitable drug at frequent interval can be done as per the guidance of physician.

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