Diet For Diverticulitis
Treatment of Diverticulitis
In 15-20 percent of patients, their bulging pouches or diverticula (a condition known as diverticulosis) become infected and cause diverticulosis, typically associated with sudden abdominal pain on the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation may also be experienced.
Most cases of diverticulitis are mild and are typically treated with rest, diet modification, and antibiotics plus pain medication. Such treatment may include a liquid or low-fiber diet. This allows the colon to rest and heal. Once symptoms improve — typically within 3-4 days – you can gradually start increasing fiber intake in your daily diet. More rarely, serious cases may require a hospital stay and possibly surgery.
Diet Modification to Prevent and Relieve Diverticulitis
The principal dietary approach to the prevention and relief of diverticulitis is the consumption of a high-fiber diet. This has specific health benefits for all diverticular conditions, including diverticulitis. A high-fiber diet along with mild pain medications will relieve symptoms in most cases.
What is Fiber
Fiber is the indigestible parts of fruits, vegetables and grains. One type dissolves in water (soluble fiber). It forms a soft, jelly-like mass in the intestines. Another type of fiber passes almost unchanged through the digestive tract (insoluble fiber). Both types help make stools soft and easier to pass. Fiber also prevents constipation.
How Much Fiber is Necessary
The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Of this, about 6-8 grams should be soluble fiber.
Note About Seeds
Up until recently, doctors advised avoiding small-seed-containing foods, such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries and poppy seeds, because it was believed that particles could lodge in the diverticula and cause inflammation. However, it is now believed that only foods that may irritate or get caught in the diverticula cause problems.