Lifestyle and Preventing Diverticulitis
Eating habits and the response we have to our bodies, exercise and activity levels and how we handle stress are all lifestyle factors that we can have control over when we are trying to prevent diverticulitis from occurring.
Diverticulitis happens when pouches form in our colon or other areas of the digestive tract. These pouches can become inflamed or infected from bad eating habits, and from pressure in our colon as a result from constipation.
Certain eating habits such as consuming junk food, eating frequent fast food, drinking alcohol and eating daily chocolates can contribute to diverticulitis. You can make a difference in your health by making healthy dietary changes such as increasing your fiber intake, and eating whole foods. You can increase your servings of fruit and vegetables and cut out the unnecessary junk food and fast foods.
Too little fiber or too little water or both cause constipation. It can also be contributed to too little activity. It can also be caused when we ignore the urges our bodies give us to move our bowels.
To avoid constipation, increase the fiber in what we eat by eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Increase the daily water intake to a minimum of 8 – 8 oz glasses of water. Make a habit of obeying the urge to move the bowels the first time we feel the urge.
Identify any stress in life and avoid when possible or eliminate if necessary. Stress can occur at home, work or at school. We can’t always control everything that stresses us but we can learn ways of coping better with what stresses us out. We can learn relaxation techniques.
We can learn to move our bodies more in daily activities like walking instead of riding, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator and making an effort to participate in exercise and fitness programs that are offered in our community.
It feels good to take good care of our health and make a difference in how we feel. Making lifestyle changes does not have to be drastic nor do you have to make all the changes at once. Do something each day to decrease your risk for diverticulitis. Improve your lifestyle one day and one change at a time. When you start to feel better, making lifestyle changes will not be so difficult to do because you will want to continue to feel better. Avoiding the pain of diverticulitis and especially avoiding the surgery of repeated bouts of diverticulitis may bring is certainly worth making lifestyle changes for.
Eating better, drinking more water, exercising daily and reducing the stress in life are all things that we can learn to incorporate into our lifestyle. Look for books on healthy lifestyle changes or join a class that is being offered in your community. There are others that are making lifestyle changes for a healthy life and sharing these changes makes doing them easier.