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Updated on June 16, 2013

It can happen to just anybody at any time. Especially if you suffer of chronic constipation, you are at risk of developing a serious condition called Diverticulitis. It occurs when the large intestine is full and unable to dispose of the feces, due to different reasons. The most common cause is that the intestine doesn't have a regular, and strong movement to push the feces out of the system. This usually occurs as a consequence of a diet lacking fiber.

Little pouches full of feces start growing on the sides of the intestine deforming the walls, and gradually becoming infected if not treated. The worse scenario is when they bust spreading toxins in your blood stream, poisoning your whole system.

Some people live with this condition for years, and then one day the little pouches start popping, because their walls eventually weaken and explode. The death due to this condition is slow and agonizing, but is also unnecessary. Detected on time it can be corrected, to avoid infections.

Numerous studies have shown how a young person who suffers of chronic diverticulitis for years, probably has the intestines of an 80 year old human being. The walls get thinner and at risk of sudden rupture. The loss of blood through the rectum starts like spots at first, but then it could increase considerably, compromising life.

I was a witness of what diverticulitis can do to a person.. I had a cousin who used to literally cry every time she had a bowl movement. For her this was more painful than going in labor. She used to tell me that she had tried everything to soften her stools, but with no positive results. My cousin would practically live at the doctor's office, and for her having enemas was almost as often, as brushing her teeth every day. She would even joke around saying that: “She was full of it”.

Mary, that was her name, suffered of continuous stomach and head aches, unexplained mood swings, bleeding through the rectum, constipation, and her stomach was always bloated and tender to the touch. One morning, she went for a walk, like every morning, and she never came back. Some kid found her dead on the side of the road.

The autopsies revealed that she had died of septicemia, a bacteria caused by the invasion of an infection in the blood stream. In Mary's case it had been caused by the rupture of one or more diverticulitis sacs.


Infections grow slowly, so the symptoms sometimes won't be noticeable, until is too late. Especially if the infection is concealed in the intestine, it can be confused with a gas problem, or indigestion. However, if the pain is accompanied by the following symptoms, you need to go to the ER immediately!

-Fever and chills

-Bleeding through the rectum (if it's happening when you have fever the amount of blood your losing doesn't matter)

-Bloating and pain of the stomach

-Rapid breathing and rapid heart rate.

-Confusion and sometimes the appearance of red spots all over the body.

With these symptoms, your system might be telling you that your blood stream is being poisoned by the infection.

Don't wait and rush to the hospital!


You have probably heard it all your life, but yes! The best way to prevent this terrible condition is to follow a good diet, and a good exercise routine. Especially if you have a problem eating vegetables and fruit, you need to find other sources to obtain the fiber you need, to keep your intestine working like a clock! Here is a list of fiber sources:

-Dried prunes. When I was a little girl, my dad used to soak 3 to 4 dried prunes in a glass full of water, overnight. The next day I drank the whole glass of water and ate the prunes at the bottom of the glass. Then I had to run to the bathroom, before my other 6 siblings got a hold of the only toilette in the house!

-Today, we have more options like cereals! The best ones are the whole grain wheat cereals, which add a great deal of fiber to your diet.

-Fruits like prunes, papaya, bananas, and generally fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber.

-Legumes like beans, and lentils are also rich in fiber.

-A way to regularize your intake of fiber are also products containing Psyllium Husk (a seed of the Ovata plant which grows in Asia and the Mediterranean region), such as Metamucil.

-If you suffer of constipation there are certain massages, which can help your intestine initiate the contractions to expel the feces. Here are two of them:

a) Start massaging your stomach in circles downward starting from the rib cage toward the pelvis. Press it, but not to hard, and stop I f you feel too much pain. Do it everyday when you feel the need to empty your bowel. These massages stimulate the Peristalsis (movement of an internal organ) and will contribute to the move of your intestine.

b) Take a long walk while you drink a lot of water, this is not a massage, but it works every time!

Diverticulitis is not a condition to be taken lightly, my cousin used to joke about her constipation problem all the time, and now she is not laughing anymore. So, if you know you are: “Full of it”, and you are already having any of the symptoms above, please go to your doctor, before it is too late!


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