Diverticulitis Diet – What You Should Eat and Avoid

Diverticulitis is a health condition, which impacts the digestive tract. It is an infection of the diverticula. These are small pockets that grow in the intestine lining.

Diverticula form when weak spots in the intestinal wall create away under pressure, leading that part to bulge out. The presence of diverticula is known as diverticulosis. It is when they get infected or inflamed, which is considered diverticulitis.

This condition is more common in older people.

Around 58% of people above the age of 60 get diverticulosis, mentioned to the National Institute -of-Diabetes-and-Digestive-and-Kidney-Diseases (NIDDK). Diverticulitis is not as common: lower than 5% of people with diverticulosis will grow diverticulitis.

This condition may cause health complications and problems, including:

  • nausea
  • severe abdominal pain
  • fever
  • bloody bowel movements
  • an abscess
  • an inflamed pocket of tissue
  • fistula

Symptoms of diverticulitis

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Diverticulitis can have symptoms ranging from mild to severe. These symptoms can occur suddenly, or they can develop slowly for several days.

Possible Symptoms of diverticular ailments include:

bloating

pain in your abdomen

constipation

diarrhea

If you get diverticulitis, you might get:

fever and chills

blood in your stool

nausea and vomiting

bleeding in your rectum

Sever or frequent pain in your abdomen

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of diverticulitis. It will most likely happen on the left side of the lower abdomen.

If you develop any of the above-given symptoms, it may be a symptom of a serious problem from diverticulitis or a different condition. Talk to your doctor.

Causes of Diverticulitis

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Diverticular ailments develop when pouches occur with the digestive tract, typically in your large intestine. These diverticula (pouches) can become infected and inflamed, which may happen when feces or less digested food blocks the diverticula opening.

Although there is no one known cause of the diverticular ailment, many factors can raise the risk of diverticulitis risk, including sources:

genetics

decreased immune function

diet

having obesity

smoking

physical inactivity

gut microbiome change

some medications, such as steroids

 

Foods To Avoid in Diverticulitis

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Doctors used to Suggest a clear liquid, low fiber diet during diverticulitis flare-ups. However, some experts no longer trust Source that you have to skip some foods when you get diverticulitis and diverticulosis. That said, diverticulitis management depends on the person. Some people may experience avoiding some food helps. Some physicians still suggest (Source) following a clear liquid diet during mild flare-ups. Once signs enhance, they may suggest moving on to a low fiber diet till symptoms go, then develop a high fiber diet.

The following part look at the research after different foods you might wish to skip the diverticulitis or diverticulosis.

 

High FODMAP foods

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Following a low FODMAP diet has helped some people with irritable bowel syndrome. It may also help with diverticulitis. FODMAPs are carbohydrate types. It is fermentable disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polyols, and monosaccharides.

Some research recommends that a low FODMAP diet could stop high pressure in the colon, which, in theory, could help people skip or right diverticulitis.

In this diet, people skip foods that have high FODMAPS. It includes foods such as:

  • Some fruits like plums, pears, apples,
  • Dairy foods like yogurt, milk, and ice cream
  • Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut
  • legumes
  • beans
  • cabbage
  • foods high in trans fats
  • soy
  • onions and garlic
  • Brussels sprouts

Red And Processed Meat

According to 2018 research, eating a diet with high processed and red meats could rise growing diverticulitis. A diet containing vegetables, fruits, and whole grains may lower the risk.

 

Foods’ High In Fat And Sugar

The standard Western diet is often high in sugar and fat and low in fiber. Due to this, it may raise the risk of persons of increasing diverticulitis. According to a 2017 study involving extra than 46, 000 male participants recommend that skipping the following food may help to skip diverticulitis or lower its symptoms:

  • red meat
  • full-fat dairy
  • refined grains
  • fried food

 

Should I Skip High-Fiber Foods?

The effect of fiber over diverticulitis can differ from person to person. In the past, doctors suggest that people with diverticulitis follow a less fiber diet or another clear liquid diet.

Dietary fiber can lower the signs of diverticular ailment and enhance bowel function, according to research from 2018. Researchers found it is

because fiber can help colon health by making good gut movement and bulk in stool.

Some Source recommends that fiber diets can even rise the diverticulitis risk, along with more meat consumption, smoking, and low physical activity.

High fiber foods include:

 

Suitable Foods to eat during a Diverticulitis flare?

According to some cases, your physician might recommend some dietary changes to make the diverticulitis easy to manage and less likely to worsen with time. If you are getting an acute diverticulitis attack, your doctor may recommend either a low fiber diet or a clear liquid diet to help in relieving your symptoms.

Once signs improve, they may suggest sticking with a low fiber diet till symptoms disappear, then developing to a high fiber diet to stop further flares.

Low fiber foods

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Low fiber foods to help eating if you get symptoms of diverticulitis to include:

  • Dry, and low fiber cereals
  • White bread, white rice, or white pasta
  • Olive oil or other oils
  • Processed fruits like canned peaches or applesauce
  • Cooked animal protein like eggs, fish, poultry
  • Yellow zucchini, squash, or pumpkin seeds or skin
  • No skin potato
  • Cooked beets, spinach, asparagus, and carrots
  • Vegetables and fruit juices

Clear Liquid Diet

A clear liquid diet is a very restrictive approach to treat diverticulitis symptoms. Your physician may suggest it for some time.

A clear liquid diet commonly consists of:

water

soup broth or stock

ice chips

clear electrolyte drinks

gelatin, such as Jell-O

coffee or tea without any creams, sweeteners, or flavors

 

Other Dietary Considerations

Whether you are following a clear liquid diet or other, it is beneficial to drink more water every day. It helps to keep you hydrated and balance your gastrointestinal health. Ensure to talk with your physician before making any sudden dietary changes. If you are following a clear liquid diet, after your condition becomes helpful, your doctor may suggest slowly including low fiber foods back into your diet, developing to a high fiber diet.

During a diverticulitis flare, a clear liquid or low fiber diet can help to ease symptoms for some people.

 

Does A High Fiber Diet Lower the Risk of Diverticulitis?

Even though the physician may suggest skipping high fiber foods during a burst, the NIDDK suggests normally eating a high fiber diet to lower the risk of acute diverticulitis.

Since fiber can help your waste material of the body, smoothen stool passes from your intestines and colon more easily and quickly.

It lowers the pressure in your digestive system, which helps to stop diverticula formation. For people without a diverticular problem, consuming a diet that is rich in fiber helps to boost a healthy digestive system.

According to a 2016 study, gut bacteria is important for diverticular problems. Though extra research is needed, future research is likely to balance modulating gut bacteria from a high fiber diet and probiotic supplementation.

 

Complications of Diverticulitis

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More than 75% of Sources of diverticulitis cases are not complicated, regarding 25% of developed complications.

These complications can include:

  • abscess: It is an infected sack filled with pus
  • phlegmon: It is an infected part that’s slightly well-confined than a sack.
  • fistula: It is an odd connection that can grow between an organ and the skin or between two organs.
  • intestinal perforation: It is a hole or tears in the intestinal wall that can let the ranges of your colon circulate into the abdominal cavity, leading to infection and inflammation.
  • intestinal obstruction: It is a blockage in your intestine that can prevent stool from passing

 

Diverticulitis: Diagnosis

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To check diverticulitis, your physician will likely know about your symptoms, ongoing medications, and health history. They will likely do a physical exam to check your abdomen to check tenderness. If they need extra information, they may offer a digital rectal exam to check for:

  • pain
  • masses
  • rectal bleeding
  • other problems

Different conditions can lead to symptoms that are the same as diverticulitis. To rule out different conditions and check for symptoms of diverticulitis, your doctor might order one or other tests.

Tests can include:

abdominal CT scan

abdominal MRI scan

abdominal ultrasound

abdominal X-ray

to take pictures of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract

 

Examine inner GI tract from Colonoscopy to perform a bout of diverticulosis

Stool test to know the infections like clostridium difficult (C.diff)

Urine test to know infections

Blood test to know anemia, inflammation, or liver or kidney problems

pelvic exam to know gynecological issues in female

Pregnancy test

 

These all-diverticulitis tests help to examine how complicated is your situation.

Diverticulitis: Using a colonoscopy to diagnose

If you get symptoms of diverticulitis, your physician might improve your colonoscopy once the severe episode resolves.

This process can help to confirm a diagnosis of diverticulitis or a different condition that led to similar symptoms like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

During a colonoscopy, your physician will add thread a flexible scope into your colon and rectum. They can utilize this scope to analyze the inner colon. They can also utilize it to get tissue samples for testing. To feel comfortable during this process, you will be sedated beforehand.

In some cases, your physician might learn that you get diverticula during a routine colonoscopy. If the diverticula do not have inflammation, infection, or symptoms, that does not need treatment.

 

Diverticulitis: Treatment

The treatment that your physician recommends for diverticulitis will depend on how severe your condition is.

Uncomplicated diverticulitis can generally be treated at home. Your physician might improve your diet. In some cases, they might suggest medications, including antibiotics. If you grow complications from diverticulitis, you may need to visit a hospital for treatment. You may be given antibiotics and fluids from an IV line. Depending on the complication type, you might need to undergo any procedure or surgery.

 

Diet and diverticulitis

There are no special foods that everyone with diverticulitis has to skip. However, you might get that some foods make your condition good or worse. As your symptoms enhance, your physician might improve you to eat extra fiber foods. Some studies Source have analyzed the possible benefits of supplemental or dietary fiber for a diverticular ailment but are still not sure of the role fiber should play.

Your physician might also improve you to reduce your consumption of red meat, refined grain products, and high-fat dairy. A large cohort researches

Source discovered that people who follow a diet that is rich in these foods are more possibly to grow diverticulitis than people who consume a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Diet can play a role in controlling diverticulitis and your complete digestive health.

 

Dietary changes

Let your digestive system recover, your physician might recommend skipping solid foods and following a clear liquid diet for some days. If your symptoms are mild or get started to improve, you may be able to try consuming low fiber foods till your condition gets better. As your condition improve, your physician will likely motivate you to include more high-fiber foods in your meals and snacks.

 

Medication

To lower discomfort or pain from diverticulitis, your physician might suggest over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen. If they suspect you have an infection, they will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat it. These can include:

It is necessary to consume a full course of prescribed antibiotics, even if your symptoms enhance after the first few doses.

 

Other Procedures

If you get a complicated diverticulitis case that cannot be treated from diet and medication alone, your physician might suggest one of the following procedures:

 

Needle Drainage:

If this procedure, a needle will be added into your abdomen to drain pus from an abscess.

 

Surgery

Surgeries also drain the pus from an abscess, restore the fistula, or remove the infection colon segments.

 

Diverticulitis Surgery

If you get multiple episodes of diverticulitis that cannot be effectively controlled with dietary medications and changes, your physician might suggest surgery.

 

Bowel Resection with Anastomosis

During a bowl cutting with anastomosis, a surgeon removes infected segments of your colon and reattaches the healthy segments to every other.

 

Bowel Resection with Colostomy

During a colostomy bowel resection, the surgeon eliminates infected sections of the colon and attaches the end of the healthy part to the abdomen opening called a stoma. Both procedures can be done as open laparoscopic surgery or open surgery.

 

Diverticulitis: Home Remedies

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Home remedies for diverticulitis mostly consist of making dietary changes, but some other options may be helpful for symptoms and digestive health.

Some home remedies for

Probiotics:

Although more research is required, some sources have discovered that some strains of probiotics might help to relieve or stop diverticulitis symptoms.

Aromatherapy:

Certain important oils have been shown to lower pains, which could help manage your symptoms.

Acupuncture

Not only can acupuncture improve digestive problems like constipation, but some research also recommends that it could help treat chronic pain.

Herbs:

Many herbs possess strong anti-inflammatory properties, including turmeric, ginger, and rosemary. However, more research is needed to analyze the effects of these herbs over diverticulitis specifically.

Meckel’s diverticulitis

Diverticular ailment commonly affects adults. In rare cases, babies are born with diverticula. When this occurs, it is known as Meckel’s diverticulum. If the diverticula become inflamed, it is called Meckel’s diverticulitis.

In some cases, Meckel’s diverticulum does not have noticeable effects. In other cases, it can lead to symptoms like:

  • nausea
  • bloody stool
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • bleeding from the rectum

Preventing diverticulitis

More research is required to learn what causes diverticular ailment, including diverticulitis. Presently, experts think multiple factors play some part. Some possible risk factors can be modified from lifestyle changes.

For example, it might help to:

try to balance a moderate body weight

eat a diet with high fiber to bulk up stool

reduce your saturated fat consumption

get more vitamin D

get a normal workout if possible

try to skip the smoking

These prevention strategies can also help to boost good health.

 

Risk Factors for Diverticulitis

One of the primary risk factors for diverticulitis is your increasing age. Older people have more risk than younger people to grow diverticulitis. It commonly happens in males under 50 and females aged between 50-70. People who get diverticula at a younger age Source may be more likely to get diverticulitis. Younger people are also admitted to a hospital if they get diverticulitis than older people.

According to a review of research issued in 2018, different risk factors of diverticulitis include:

Family history

Research has discovered those genetics also responsible for diverticular disease, with some reports estimating that nearly 40-50% of the possible risk of diverticular disease is hereditary.

Low levels of vitamin D

Some studies recommend that people with more vitamin D might get a lower risk of having diverticulitis. More research is required to know the possible link between diverticula and vitamin D.

Obesity

Different studies have found that people with more BMI and more waists are at high risk of diverticulitis by changing the bacteria balance in the gut, but more research is needed to know the role this plays.

Physical Inactivity

Some studies have discovered that physically active people are less likely than inactive people to grow diverticulitis. However, this link needs extra research.

 

Using smoking or nonsteroidal drugs (anti-inflammatory) (NSAIDs) or

A common use of aspirin, NSAIDs, or ibuprofen may increase the risk of diverticulitis. People who smoke also have more possibilities than non-smokers to increase diverticular disease.

According to a 2017 review of research, there is no strong proof that consuming alcohol increase the risk of this disease

If you consume alcohol, your doctor will likely motivate you to consume in moderation only. Although alcohol consumption might not lead to diverticulitis, consuming more can increase the risk of different other health problems.

Diverticulitis vs. diverticulosis

If you get diverticula that are not inflamed or infected, it is known as diverticulosis. In some cases, diverticulosis can have symptoms like pain in the bloating and abdomen. When that happens, it is called symptomatic-uncomplicated-diverticular-disease (SUDD).

 

Other Types Of Diverticulitis

Diverticula can also grow in your bladder. It happens when the lining of your bladder types pouches, poking from weak spots in the wall of the bladder. Sometimes bladder diverticula are found at birth. In other cases, they grow later in life. They can grow your bladder is blacked, or your bladder is not working properly because of injury or illness. If you get bladder diverticula that gets inflamed, it is called bladder diverticulitis.

Your doctor might recommend surgery to restore the diverticula to treat bladder diverticulitis.

It is also possible for diverticulitis in the colon to impact your bladder. In many cases, you might grow a fistula between the bladder and colon. It is known as a colovesical fistula.

Diverticula can form in the esophagus. It happens when pouches grow in the esophageal lining. Esophageal diverticula are rare. When they do grow, it commonly and over different years. As they grow, they can lead to symptoms or complications like:

  • pain when swallowing
  • trouble swallowing
  • regurgitation of food
  • saliva
  • bad breath or halitosis
  • pulmonary aspiration: saliva
  •  or breathing repeated food into your lungs
  • aspiration pneumonia: forming a lung infection after breathing in saliva or food

Inflamed diverticula are called esophageal diverticulitis. To treat esophageal diverticulitis, your doctor might recommend antibiotics and medications for pain. To restore diverticula, they might suggest surgery.

 

Bottom line

Generally, if you get diverticulosis but are not getting an episode of diverticulitis, a diet with high fiber will help to stop future flare-ups. Depending on the severity of an acute diverticulitis flare-up, a diet low with fiber or a clear liquid diet may be helpful to lower symptoms. If you get diverticulitis, speak with your physician about your food requirement and food restrictions. It is essential to discuss how food may lower or heal your condition. If you need to add guidance, ask your physician to refer you to a dietitian. Look out for a healthcare adviser who has experience working with people who get diverticulitis if possible.

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