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Diet During an Attack PDF Print E-mail

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When a diverticulitis attack occurs, the small diverticula pouches that are bulging through the intestinal walls become infected and inflamed.  They can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and fever, the treatment goes hand in hand with the severity of the symptoms and whether or not this is the first attack.  Many of the milder cases of diverticulitis are treated with a change in diet, rest, and antibiotics to fight the infection.  When the attack is a bit more severe is may eventually require surgery to remove the portion of the colon that is diseased and infected.

During a mild diverticulitis attack, your doctor may recommend a low fiber or clear liquid diet. Either of these helps the area of infection to have time to rest and heal.  Generally within 7 days on antibiotics along with one of the following diets suggested by your doctor the attack should clear up.

Clear liquid diet suggested foods:

  • Plain water no carbonation
  • Fruit juices without pulp (prune juice is also not recommended)
  • Tea or coffee without cream
  • Clear Broth (bouillon or consommé)
  • Gelatins
  • Popsicles without bits of fruit or fruit pulp

Soft diet suggested foods:

  • Cooked and pureed fruits and vegetables without skins, seeds or membranes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soups
  • Jello
  • Pudding
  • Yogurts with no fruit added in

Low fiber diet suggested foods:

  • Enriched white bread
  • White rice or plain pasta, or noodles
  • Low-fiber cereals
  • Milk, yogurt or cheese without seeds or nuts
  • Fruit juice with little or no pulp (no prune juice)
  • Most raw, canned or cooked fruits without skins, seeds or membranes
  • Canned or well-cooked vegetables without seeds, hulls or skins
  • Tender meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Desserts without seeds or nuts

Within a few days the symptoms will generally improve and you can slowly increase the amount of fiber that is reintroduced into your diet.  The best rule of thumb is to begin by adding in about 5 – 10 grams of fiber every few days to allow your digestive system to readjust to the higher fiber diet intake.

Once your body is back on a healthy track try the following to help prevent future attacks of diverticulitis:

Follow a high fiber diet. High-fiber foods, including whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, help to keep the waste softer which helps it pass more quickly through your colon. This will help reduce the pressure within your digestive tract, and let things flow smoother.  Your goal should be to include 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. If you are having a hard time trying to consume this much fiber every day, consider using a fiber supplement, such as methylcellulose found in Citrucel or psyllium seed which is found in both Metamucil or Nature's Way.

Drink, Drink, Drink.  Fiber best works by absorbing water which helps in increasing the soft, bulky waste in your colon. Water is best, then herbal teas (hot or cold), and juices also add to this combination perfectly, however if you don't drink enough of any of these liquids to replace what is absorbed, the fiber can become constipating only to cause more problems to the intestines.

Exercise.  A regular exercise routine whether it’s walking, home video work outs, or hitting the gym it will help promote a normal bowel function and helps to reduce the pressure inside your colon, which in turn will decrease your chances of forming more diverticula or existing ones to enlarge.

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