Probiotics for Diverticulitis: Benefits and Recommendations for Better Intestinal Health
Diverticulitis is a disease that affects the colon and is characterized by the formation of sacs in the mucosa. Conventional treatment involves antibiotics and changes in food and diet, but probiotics for diverticulitis may also be useful as they have been shown to be effective in the treatment of this disease.
What is diverticulitis and its relationship to intestinal health?
Diverticulitis is a disease that affects the colon, specifically the mucosa of the colon, where pouches or diverticula are formed. These sacs can become inflamed and infected, which causes various symptoms and discomfort in the patient.
Diverticulitis is closely related to intestinal health, as it is related to the condition and function of the colon. The colon is part of the digestive system responsible for the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste from the body. When pouches form in the colon mucosa, as in the case of diverticulitis, the normal functioning of the intestinal tract can be altered, causing discomfort and health complications.
It is important to note that diverticulitis should not be confused with diverticulosis. While diverticulitis involves inflammation and infection of the pouches in the colon, diverticulosis refers to the presence of these pouches without being inflamed or infected.
Diverticulitis may generate symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, changes in bowel habits and general discomfort. These symptoms may vary in intensity and duration depending on each case.
The relationship between diverticulitis and intestinal health lies in the fact that the proper functioning of the colon is essential for good digestion, absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste. When problems develop in the colon, such as the formation of sacs in the mucosa, complications arise that can affect the patient’s quality of life.
Symptoms and diagnosis of diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is a disease that manifests itself through various symptoms that may indicate the presence of this disease in the colon. These symptoms may vary from one person to another and their intensity may also differ.
Abdominal pain and bloating
One of the most common symptoms of diverticulitis is abdominal pain, especially in the lower left side of the abdomen. This pain may be persistent or intermittent and may be made worse by eating or moving. In addition to pain, a feeling of abdominal bloating or distention may be experienced.
Diarrhea and other symptoms
The presence of diarrhea is another characteristic symptom of diverticulitis. Stools may become more frequent and have a liquid consistency. In addition to diarrhea, other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and changes in bowel habits may also occur.
Importance of consulting a physician
In the presence of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult a physician for an accurate diagnosis. The physician will perform a physical examination and may order additional tests, such as blood tests, imaging studies or a colonoscopy, to confirm the presence of diverticulitis and rule out other similar conditions.
Conventional treatment of diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is a disease that requires proper treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Conventional treatment is based on two main approaches: the use of antibiotics along with other medications and the adoption of a diet rich in fiber and vegetables.
Use of antibiotics and other medications
In cases of acute diverticulitis, antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat the infection and reduce inflammation in the colon. These medications help fight the bacteria present in the diverticular pouches and prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the body.
In addition to antibiotics, other medications may be used to relieve the symptoms of diverticulitis. Analgesics help reduce abdominal pain, while antispasmodics can decrease muscle spasms in the bowel and relieve the feeling of bloating.
Food rich in fiber and vegetables
Adequate nutrition plays a fundamental role in the management of diverticulitis and helps prevent future outbreaks. It is recommended to follow a diet rich in fiber and vegetables, as this helps to improve intestinal transit and avoid constipation, one of the risk factors associated with diverticular disease.
Foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, help soften the stool and promote regular bowel movements, which reduces pressure on the colon and prevents the formation of new diverticular pouches. It is also recommended to increase fluid intake to ensure adequate hydration.
It is important to keep in mind that the introduction of fiber in the diet should be gradual, to allow the body to adapt. In addition, it is advisable to chew food well and avoid consuming processed and low-fiber foods, which can worsen the symptoms of diverticulitis.
The role of probiotics for diverticulitis
Probiotics play an important role in the management of diverticulitis, providing intestinal health benefits. Their effectiveness has been supported by numerous scientific studies.
Benefits and effectiveness of probiotics
Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of diverticulitis by helping to restore and maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota. These live microorganisms help strengthen the intestinal barrier, improve digestion and promote the immune system.
In addition, it has been observed that probiotics can reduce inflammation in the colon and relieve symptoms of diverticulitis, such as abdominal pain and bloating.
The effectiveness of probiotics in the management of diverticulitis may vary depending on the strain used and the dose administered. It is important to choose specific probiotic strains that have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.
Recommended probiotic strains
Among the probiotic strains recommended for the management of diverticulitis are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Saccharomyces boulardii. These strains have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties and intestinal health benefits.
It is essential to consult with a physician to determine the appropriate strain and dosage of probiotics according to individual needs, as each person may have a different response to different types of probiotic strains.
Probiotic foods and supplements
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh, are natural sources of probiotics. These foods can be incorporated into the diet for probiotic benefits.
In addition, probiotic supplements are also an option to ensure adequate probiotic intake. Supplements may contain a combination of different probiotic strains and come in convenient forms, such as capsules or powders.
It is important to follow the doctor’s or manufacturer’s instructions regarding the dosage and frequency of consumption of probiotic foods or supplements.
Recommendations for the use of probiotics in diverticulitis
The management of diverticulitis includes different aspects related to the use of probiotics. Below are some important recommendations that can help improve the condition and prevent relapses:
Consult a physician before starting any treatment.
Before starting probiotics or other complementary treatments, it is essential to have the supervision and guidance of a medical specialist in the field. The healthcare professional will conduct a thorough assessment of the situation and can offer personalized recommendations based on the patient’s individual needs.
Maintain a varied and balanced diet
A diet rich in fiber and vegetables is vitally important in the management of diverticulitis. Consuming foods that provide an adequate amount of fiber will help prevent constipation and maintain a regular intestinal transit. In addition, it is recommended to include probiotic foods such as yogurt or kefir, which are natural sources of beneficial bacteria for the intestine.
- Consume fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes daily.
- Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains.
- Incorporate lean protein sources such as fish, chicken and legumes.
- Limit consumption of processed foods rich in saturated fats.
Establishing a healthy lifestyle
In addition to proper nutrition, adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical to the management of diverticulitis. Some recommendations that can help improve intestinal health and prevent complications include:
- Regular physical exercise. Physical activity helps to stimulate bowel movements and maintain overall good health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of developing diverticulitis and other diseases related to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, as they can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of complications.
- Managing stress. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on bowel health. It is important to find ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in pleasurable activities, and seeking appropriate support.
Case reports and successful experiences with probiotics in diverticulitis
In this article on the benefits of probiotics in the management of diverticulitis, it is relevant to highlight a clinical case that illustrates how the use of probiotics has been successful in the treatment of this disease.
The case of a 45-year-old patient who was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis was presented. Initially, he was prescribed antibiotics and was advised to make changes in his diet, increasing fiber and vegetable intake. However, despite following conventional treatment, the patient experienced frequent relapses and abdominal discomfort.
Given this situation, it was decided to incorporate probiotics into his treatment. He was prescribed a combination of probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum, which have been shown to have beneficial properties for intestinal health.
After a few weeks of regular probiotic consumption, the patient experienced a marked improvement in his symptoms. Abdominal pain and bloating were significantly reduced, and an improvement in bowel regularity was also observed. In addition, the patient reported an increased sense of general well-being and a decrease in the frequency of diverticulitis relapses (1).
Benefits and effectiveness of probiotics
- Probiotics have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation and promote intestinal health in patients with diverticulitis.
- In addition to improving gastrointestinal symptoms, probiotics can also strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of infections.
- It is important to note that the efficacy of probiotics may vary from person to person, so it is advisable to try different strains and consult with a physician to determine the right one for each case.
Recommended probiotic strains
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain has been associated with intestinal health benefits and reduction of diverticulitis symptoms.
- Bifidobacterium longum: Another probiotic strain that has shown efficacy in the management of diverticular disease.
- Other strains, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii, have also been shown to benefit intestinal health.
Probiotic foods and supplements
In addition to supplements, probiotics can also be obtained through fermented foods. Some probiotic food options include plain yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. These foods can be incorporated into the diet as part of a comprehensive strategy for diverticulitis management.
It is important to note that while probiotics may be beneficial in these conditions, it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any treatment. Each person is unique and may require personalized approaches to optimize results. In addition, it is essential to maintain a varied and balanced diet and establish an overall healthy lifestyle to enhance the effects of probiotics.
(1) Modulación de la microbiota intestinal con probioticos para el tratamiento de la enfermedad diverticular de colon. Alcántara Moral M, Blancafort Jorquera A, Lara Sanchez A, Zarate Moreno F, Miñambres Cabáñez C, Freixas López N, Pando López JA, Roura Onaindia J, Hospital Universitario General de Catalunya. i+D Emlife. Centre Medic Sabadell.
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