It's easy to dismiss these pains as part of your month's period or even an insect, but if they are on the lower left side of your belly, you could have diverticulitis. lining the lower part of your colon and getting inflamed, Ross says. While it is traditionally considered a disease in the elderly, there is an increase in the number of cases in people under 40, according to a study published in Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology . (The researchers do not know why, but one theory is that it's due to obesity and a Western diet low in fiber.)
What to do: Terrible cramps, especially if they are accompanied by fever, justify an immediate trip to the office of your doctor. You will probably need blood, urine and stool tests to rule out other sources of infection, and if diverticulitis is still the most likely culprit, you will probably have a scanner. The treatment is antibiotics; you will also be put on a liquid diet for a few days while your bowel heals.
After recovering, you can prevent recurrence by eating more fiber. (Here's how you can introduce more fiber into your diet.) You may also want to consider something called the FODMAP Low Diet, which means oligo-di-monosaccharides and fermentable polyols, suggests Stephen Hanauer, MD, medical director of the Digestive tract. Health Center at Northwestern Medical Center in Chicago. It means eating foods low in carbohydrates (fruits and honey), lactose (in dairy products), fructans (in wheat, garlic and onions), galactans (in legumes) and polyols (sweeteners without sugar), and stone fruits , such as apricots, cherries and nectarines.
PLUS: 7 reasons why you have cramps that have nothing to do with your period